It is important to know that all parties involved in an accident are required to report the accident, if there are serious injuries or fatalities the report normally takes place at the scene where the SAP or Metro officials will compile the report. In such a case vehicles may not be moved until the necessary sketch has been completed.
What does the law require?
- A driver of a vehicle, which has been involved in a road accident, must report the accident within 24 hours to any local traffic department in South Africa or police station (South African Police). This is a requirement in terms of the National Road Traffic Act, Act 93 of 1996.
- A criminal offence is committed if a road accident is not reported within 24-hours of the occurrence or a drivers licence is not produced when the accident is reported, a criminal prosecution could follow
- An accident must be reported in person. It may not be reported over the telephone or by a third party.
- The driver must present and a valid driving licence must be submitted.
Completing the Official Accident Report (Known as an AR Report)
The official accident report is not a simple formality and requires accurate detail. The report is important as your insurance company will require the AR # no issued by the police, they may need access to the report when assessing and evaluating your claim.
- The Accident Report (AR) Form must be completed for all accidents, which occur on a public road or where the public has access and where a vehicle was involved.
- The AR Form should be completed personally by a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident where no criminal case (docket) has been opened, if the person is in condition to do so (exclusions may be driving under the influence of alcohol /narcotic substance or reckless or negligent driving).
- A police official, traffic officer or other authorized person can assist the driver complete the form at the accident scene or at a police station.
Details in the Accident Report (AR)
- Every effort must be made to say exactly where the accident occurred, i.e. the exact location. This is critical. An accurate sketch is important. As much detail as possible should be included (street names and landmarks, precise position of vehicles- generally measured from the verge or curb, direction of travel of vehicles involved).
- The detail on the AR Form must be an accurate reflection of the accident. It should include the following, road surface details, weather and light conditions)- the AR form must contain all details of the drivers and vehicles.
- Once the AR Form has been completed, an entry will be made in the official Accident Register, at the reporting police station. In the event of the AR being completed on site the reporting authority will normally SMS you the AR #.
- Those involved will then be given an official reference number proving that the accident has been reported – AR (Accident Report) NR (Number) 13/(Number of accidents reported) 12/(Applicable Month) /2017 (Year of accident) – this may be backed up by a OB # (Occurrence Book #) entry in the station occurrence book.
- A photocopy of the completed AR Form may be given if requested. (There could be a fee).
- View an example of an accident report form on the arrive alive “Arrive Alive” website at Accident Report Form
When will a road accident be criminally investigated by the SAPS?
- When people have been killed (culpable homicide), or seriously injured.
- When a vehicle of the SAP or Traffic authorities has been involved in an accident or contributed to the accident.
- When it appears that a serious offence has been committed.
- When there is a written complaint that a specific criminal offence(Section)(traffic-related or not), has been committed, and the complaint is brought to the attention of a station commissioner of a SAPS police station or the head of a Metro police station.
An accident should be reported at the closest SAP or Metro station to the actual occurrence. Otherwise it complicates the administration of the relevant Accident Reports, some stations may decline to take an AR.