What’s the buzz about illegal vehicle modifications in South Africa?

custom built vehicle modifications

There is currently much debate going on about Cape Town’s decision to bring the hammer down on illegal car modifications. While we all support road safety, and we respect the attempt to clamp down on illegal street racing, some people remain enraged by the ordeal. Let’s look at the most important facts regarding this new law strategy, so to understand the situation better.
It has been made clear that:

• The plan is not to go out and directly target drivers with modified cars; the plan is rather to suspend roadworthy certificates as culprits are caught. Majority of the time, drivers become culprits and have their vehicles inspected only if they have been caught participating in illegal street racing.

• The SANS 047 is stern on specific unroadworthy modification issues such as suspensions and springs, steering columns, vehicle headlights and fog lamps, tinting of windows, mag wheels, exhausts and brakes, etc. There is no issue with motor vehicles that have been modified legally and that are in line with National Road Traffic Act No. 93 of 1996.

• It’s the proper fitment of car parts that is the issue. Car modifications are considered illegal if it was not done by the manufacturer or by a registered vehicle body builder. If you are nervous about the state of your car modifications, you can always go to a registered vehicle testing centre and attain a valid roadworthy certificate.

• Traffic officers and other law enforcers are not considered professional mechanics and therefore do not hold the right to determine whether or not car parts and modification are safe and legal. Traffic officers are only subject to issue suspension notices, whereby motorists are required to present the vehicle for testing, free of charge, to a designated testing station within a prescribed period.

• Traffic officers will continue to enforce harsher penalties on dangerous drivers who race illegally, and will also set out to (fairly) punish spectators of such races.

The new law strategy wishes to spread its wings nationally and combat illegal road issues in all provinces. Car modifications that do not affect the safety system of the vehicle are completely excluded from the scope of this issue. You are rest assured vehicle modifications done by a registered vehicle body builder will not affect your vehicle’s roadworthy standards.
Find out more about doing steel frame modifications to your bakkie or further enhancing existing steel frames, as well as other safe and legal vehicle-body modifications.

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