This month we chat about safety……safety in our homes….vehicles… in general.

Children / Car Seats and RAF

Until recently, there was no law in place forcing parents to secure children in car seats while driving.  However, on April 30th, it became compulsory for all children under the age of 3 to be strapped into a car seat.  While this is certainly a step in the right direction, we are still concerned about children over 3 years old since research shows that by using a car seat for young passengers or seat belts for older children, the risk of death as a result of a vehicle accident is reduced by 71% for babies and by 54% for toddlers.

Any driver caught transporting children under the stipulated age without car seats will be fined R200-R500.  However, this amendment to the National Road Traffic Act is not clear in terms of Taxi’s or public transport vehicles and we await clarity on this aspect.

What would the implications be if a child was not secured into a car seat in terms of lodging a claim against the RAF (Road Accident Fund)?  RAF spokeswoman Linda Rulashe has advised that the RAF would still be forced to accept the claim.  A recent publication stated that more than R5 billion was owed by the RAF to service providers and claimants as at March this year.
Buckle Up and drive safely

We all know that driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous and against the law.  We also all know that a motor claim may be repudiated on these grounds.  However, what happens when a Court of Law does not make a finding due to lost blood samples or the case being dropped as a result of other technicality?

A recent finding from the Ombudsman’s Office explains this as follows:-

“The burden on the state in a criminal prosecution is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt….”

The Insured’s claim against the Insurance Company would be a civil claim and the Insurer needs only to demonstrate on a balance of probabilities….”that the driver drove the vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol”…

This is done by taking all the available evidence into account such as the time of the accident, where the driver was travelling from, witness statements etc.  In the most recent case presented to the Ombudsman, the Insurers repudiation of a claim was upheld as the Insurer had shown, on a balance of probabilities that the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

Safety Tips for you, your Home and your Family
  • Make sure shrubs are cut back or cleared so that they do not serve as hiding places for would be burglars and hijackers
  • Items inside a garage may be used as weapons or to assist anyone entering your home unlawfully – keep the garage area securely locked
  • Good lighting around your house will make it difficult for prowlers to move around freely
  • Should you be considering selling your home, a Show House does present security problems on the day.  All valuables should be locked away and you should be comfortable with the Agent you plan to leave inside your house during the viewing period.
  • Never leave spare keys on display especially if they are access keys to the external gates and doors
  • Moving onto your vehicle – always drive with your doors locked and windows up especially when approaching an intersection. Leave adequate space between your vehicle and the stationary vehicle in front of you so that you have room to maneuver your vehicle if necessary.  When walking away from your vehicle, always ensure that the vehicle has been locked – remote jamming is on the increase.
  • Car-jackings are also on the increase – position your side mirrors about 10 degrees further out than normal as thieves know the blind spots and how to attack without being seen. Use the rearview and side mirrors to check your surroundings while stationary.
Gillitts recently experienced a spate of robberies and a Unit from the Hillcrest Police managed to apprehend the thieves.  Cooke Fuller Garrun discovered that this unit worked from a Container that held very little in the way of furniture.  We managed to clear out a large wooden filing cabinet and delivered this to the Hillcrest Policy Station along with a desk and chair – much to the delight of the staff who work so hard for us all.
We appreciate everything our local Police Station does to keep us safe.