SA Traffic Law - Demerit Points Accumulated Driving Old Bus?

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Graham H

29 April 2016
I've been driving buses now for nearly 4 years. I started when the SA rail network was shut down for electrification and additional old buses were brought out of retirement to meet public transport demands at the time. These old previously retired buses were very slow beasts and in no time at all, after 40 years of worry free driving. I found myself with two traffic infringement notices for going through red lights - one at an intersection, one at a pedestrian crossing.

The infringements were as a result of my commencing travel from a rest position toward the lights while having just turned amber. Due to the very slow uptake of speed and considerable delay in power transferring to the wheels of these tired old buses, by the time I crossed the 'line', the lights had just turned red. I had to make a split-second decision to either slam on the brakes thereby endangering the safety of my passengers, some of whom were elderly and standing or else continue on while the opposing lights had yet to turn green and the intersection was still clear. Passenger safety is paramount in my job and so I chose to continue slowly rather than injure passengers. I wrote to the manager of expiations and explained what had happened but he said that safety was most important(?) so the fines had to stand.

I have since paid the fines and was penalised 6 demerit points.

I have recently been caught in my car doing 58k/h in a very unclearly marked short stretch of 50k/h zone accruing more demerit points (The term 'speed entrapment' springs to mind). I am now worried that I could very easily lose my drivers licence should I incur another fine. I don't believe the first two fines should have stood anyway as I was led to believe at the start of my employ that bus drivers are given a little leeway due to the fact that we are on the road 7 to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week providing a public service and constantly dealing with all manner of traffic conditions and inevitably things like this will happen. It seems a very harsh penalty both financially and in terms of demerit points when I was simply trying to do the right thing in the safest way possible. It really is all about the money.

Obviously, I need to be more careful however I was wondering under Traffic Law, if there was any grounds as a bus driver, for special dispensation should the worse happen and I accrue more demerit points given that my livelihood as a professional driver is at stake.


Well-Known Member
19 April 2014
I'm not aware of any special dispensation for professional drivers, unfortunately. However, if the worst did happen, you may be eligible for a good behaviour option - see - Disqualification from driving