South African Drivers & The Demerit Points System

The controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill moves a step closer to implementation in South Africa.

The Aarto task team has added amendments to the bill, following rounds of public hearings, and believe that this system will remove habitual traffic offenders from South Africa’s roads and highways.

Most notably, the changes make provision for the rehabilitation of repeat offenders and alterations to the manner in which warrants are issued.

When will AARTO officially be implemented?

Should Parliament be satisfied with the proposed amendments, the Bill will then be handed over to The National Council of Provinces (NCOP). If the council gives it the greenlight, AARTO could be implemented as soon as the end of the 2017/2018 financial year.

How does the demerit system work?

The draft regulations for the Aarto Act say that all drivers and cars will start with zero points. Points are allocated to drivers and cars based on infringements, and demerit points will be deducted at a rate of one point every three months provided no points have been incurred over that period.

Driving without a seatbelt and driving 131km/h-135km/h in a 120km/h speed zone: a R250 fine and no demerit points.

Offences including driving an unregistered or unlicensed vehicle; driving with no licence plate visible; holding and using a cellphone; skipping a stop sign and skipping a red light: a R500 fine and one demerit point.

Six demerit points will be given to drivers under the influence of alcohol; exceeding 100km/h in a 60km/h zone, 140km/h in a 100km/h zone, and 160km/h in a 120km/h zone. In addition, a fine determined by a court will be imposed.

The removal of Section 21 of the Act

“Previously, the Bill allowed for the imposition of a combination of harsh punishments for non-compliant offenders, which included seizing the driver’s licence, removing the vehicles licence disc and impounding the vehicle in question all at the same time,” says Nagtegaal and adds “This will no longer be the case.”

 A car owner is also liable for the fine/punishment

This means that the registered owner of the vehicle will be responsible for any infringement even if someone else was driving the car.

The ONLY exception to the above is if the owner gathered all the personal information of the driver (full name, ID number, residential and business addresses and contact details).

The National Road Traffic Offences Register

In an attempt to centralise proceedings, the Bill calls for a designated authority to ensure that all the information and details of the infringements and violations of individuals are recorded.

According to various transport experts who worked on the Bill, this new system will facilitate charging much larger volumes of offenders.

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