The transport minister, Fikile Mbalula, has gazetted the latest draft of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Regulations, detailing how the country’s new demerit system will work.
The 540-page directive states that the new AARTO Act is due for a national roll-out on 1 July 2021.
As required by law, members of the public are invited to provide comment, input or objections until 1st December 2020.
After 1st July 2021, the demerit point system will be introduced in 3 phases to gradually introduce road users to the implications of the system.
Under the new system, a person, operator or company (juristic person) pays the penalty and incurs points when a traffic infringement is committed.
The demerit points are allocated to the operators and owners of motor vehicles. If a vehicle is suspended it may not be sold or used on a public road.
If an operator or juristic person does sell, scrap or export a vehicle, the demerit points will remain against the record of the operator/juristic person and be allocated to the next vehicle the company purchases.
However, vehicles are not punished by the system – only the driver/juristic person is held responsible for the use of its vehicle.
The points will work as follows:
• The offender/infringer receives a penalty, and in addition to the penalty, they also receive the demerit points allocated to the specific offence.
• If the demerit points exceed the maximum points (15 points), a person will be disqualified from driving or using the vehicle for a period of time (three months for every point exceeding 15 points);
• The points for the offences and infringements range between six and one;
•The maximum for a person or operator card or a licence disc for a juristic person who is not an operator is 15 points;
• The maximum for a learner driver is six points;
• The time value of each point is three months for disqualification or reduction purposes;
• If demerit points are allocated to a person or vehicle record and no further demerit points are accrued in three months after receiving the previous demerit point, a reduction of one point on the total number of demerit points will be recorded on the system.
• A person’s driving licence card and the operator card of a motor vehicle must be handed in for the disqualification period;
• Upon a third disqualification, the licences will be cancelled. A person must apply for a new learner’s licence and driving licence once the disqualification period is over.
The AARTO Regulations have raised concern about some issues:
• Currently, an alleged infringer has the right to elect to be tried in court. AARTO replaces this right with written representations, a Tribunal and ultimately an appeal or review application to the Magistrates Court.
• Doubling the penalties (fines) which are currently payable – an additional burden on motorists in these economically unstable times.
• Although failing to pay e-toll and regular road tolls will no longer attract demerit points, the fines for these infringements will be doubled.
• The Regulations will make it a criminal offence to drive if a driver does not possess a driving licence.
If you wish to comment or object on the Regulations, you can do so on the DearSouthAfrica website: https://dearsouthafrica.co.za/aartoregs/
ADV QACHA MOLETSANE
ROAD TRAFFIC INFRINGEMENT AGENCY
PO BOX 6341
TEL: 087 287 7978
ADV. NGWAKO THOKA
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
PRIVATE BAG X193
TEL: 012 309 3764