The issue of lift clubs is dealt with in the National Land Transport Act. Section 69 states that the Minister may make regulations for a lift club or operations of a lift club, however there has not been any regulations made in terms of that section.
What do you know about operating a lift club and car insurance?
Before anyone start operating or taking part in a lift club there is a need to know checklist which should be kept in mind:
The most important aspects are:
– Which vehicle is used?
– Who are the drivers?
– How is the vehicle operated?
– Details on licensing
We would like to look at these aspects in more detail and share some important insights. It is important to recognize that there is no “one size fits all” answer as lift clubs differ in the way that it is operated.
We would also like to quote from the different types of Carpools / ridesharing or lift clubs out there as described on the Arrive Alive Road Safety website
Types of carpools
• Designated Driver Carpool
This carpool generally has one driver and one or more passengers. The driver provides the vehicle and passengers pay a daily, weekly or monthly fare based on expenses such as petrol, maintenance and parking.
• Alternating Carpool
Enjoy the simplicity of a carpool in which driving is alternated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Costs are incurred only during the period in which you are required to drive. Or, put simply — when you drive you pay, when you ride it’s free.
• Employer Carpool
Some employers encourage employees to share the ride to and from work by allowing the use of company vehicles. Employees pay a fare to offset additional petrol, maintenance and insurance costs. As most company vehicles sit idle in parking lots after business hours this system can benefit both employers and employees. Employers can save their parking for paying customers while demonstrating their environmental responsibility and employees can save money.
Transportation for Reward and the Professional Driving Permit
If your Lift club can be regarded as transport for reward, the driver will need to apply for and drive with a Professional Driving permit.
When do you need a Professional Driving permit?
The National Road Traffic Act states that the driver of vehicle that transports persons for reward shall have a PrDP for category P-Passengers.
115. Certain drivers of certain vehicles to hold professional driving permit
115. (1) Subject to the provisions of subregulation (2), a professional driving permit shall be held by the driver of-
(a) a goods vehicle, the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms;
(b) a breakdown vehicle;
(c) a bus;
(d) a minibus- (i) the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms; or (ii) which is designed or adapted for the conveyance of 12 or more persons, including the driver;
(e) a motor vehicle used for the conveyance of persons for reward or is operated in terms of a operating licence issued in accordance with the NLTTA; [Subreg. (e) replaced by R.4, G.N. R.871 w.e.f. 1 January 2006 enforceable from 1 July 2006]
(f) a motor vehicle the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms to which regulations 273 to 283 apply as contemplated in regulation 274; and [G.N. G.N. R.727 has put subreg (1)(f) into operation on 3 August 2001] [Subreg. (1)(f) substituted by R.25, G.N. R.881 w.e.f. 23 July 2004]
(g) a motor vehicle conveying 12 or more persons including the driver.
If the vehicle used in your lift club is a minibus as described above you will need the Professional Driving Permit and your insurance will also require you to provide this.
You would also require a Roadworthy Certificate.
A lift club is usually an arrangement where every member has a car and they take turns driving. If 4 people go to work every day with the same person as driver and pay him for petrol he is simply operating a taxi, thereby transporting passengers for reward and in need of a professional driving permit.
On the issue of personal liability it is important to recognize new legislation. In terms of the new act, if there is an accident in South Africa and one is injured as a result of someone else’s negligent driving one cannot sue that negligent driver for personal injuries suffered. One has to go through the Road Accident Fund and cannot sue the negligent driver in a South African court for anything other than pure emotional shock which is very unusual.
Best advice on Communication with your Car Insurer
It is best to contact your insurer should you make your vehicle available for the purpose of use in a lift club. If you remain the driver it should not be a problem and you may even save if your vehicle is used less often. If somebody else may regularly be driving the vehicle it is important to that such a person be added as a designated driver on your insurance policy!