The time has come for you to renew your driver's licence and you're probably already dreading dealing with all the admin, especially given the complications of the COVID-19 lockdown. Our quick guide to renewing your driver's licence will help you get it done in no time.
Your driver's licence must be renewed at least four weeks before it expires. If you've left it late and your licence has already expired or is close to expiring, you'll need to apply for a temporary driving licence as well, which is an added expense. (Luckily your temporary driver's licence will be issued on the spot.)
The good news is, the grace period has been extended for the third time and now stretches all the way to 31 March 2022. As per the Government announcement, if your driver's or learner's licence, or professional driving permit expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021, your licence will remain valid until 31 March 2022. However, that doesn't apply to licences that renew this year.
If your licence is reaching the end of its days, first make sure you contact your local Driving Licence Testing Centre (DLTC) to check they have actually reopened. Sadly you can't renew online as every licence renewal requires fingerprints and an eye test. Sad but true!
Sound like too much hassle? Maybe, but the alternative is way worse. Driving on a public road in SA without a valid driver's licence is a criminal offence that could even land you in prison.
Once you're sure the centre you want to visit is open, make an appointment by phone or online using the National Traffic Information System online booking service.
Here is a list of all the requirements for renewing your driver's licence. (And don't forget your trusty facemask!)
The cost of renewing your driver's licence depends on the local licensing office you use, as municipalities charge their own rates. The expected price is around R250, but it's best to contact the renewal office to confirm. Most offices will accept cash or card payments, but cash is king obvs, in case the card system is temporarily offline.
Your driver's licence renewal can take anywhere between four and six weeks, depending on system interruptions and efficiency. And with the COVID lockdown lag you should expect delays. There's an option to get notified via SMS once your driver's licence is ready for collection, which you opt into during the process. When collecting your new driver's licence card, you simply need to take your proof of payment (original receipt) and your ID along with you.
So you see, renewing your driver's licence isn't as bad as you feared. As long as you're prepared and take along all your documents, you'll soon be free from worrying about it for another five years.
Karabo Kopeka, head of claims at MiWay Insurance, says yes: 'If your licence has expired during this period, it will still remain valid for the duration of the government-announced validity period. As such, a licence that has expired within this period will not have an adverse impact on the outcome of your claim.'
However, it is always worth checking with your specific insurer as to what their protocols are in such a situation. Kopeka also advises that you keep receipts for the application of your new driver's licence in the car with you, or on record.
Remember, driving around on an expired licence is a huge risk. With lockdown patrols and roadblocks at what feels like every turn, you are risking a fine. Not only that, should you be in an accident in which you are at fault, your car insurance holder may very well refuse to cover your claim, which may be a hefty one especially if you have to pay damages to the other party's car or property.
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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.