New driver demerit system: 6 things SA motorist should know


Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 06 September 2017| 15 Dhul Hijjah 1438

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.

Law For All shares some insights:

1. The driver demerit system

As the previous draft stated, every driver will start with zero points to their name, and will face a three-month licence suspension if they exceed 12 points.

According to Advocate Jackie Nagtegaal from Law For All: “The updated version asserts that demerits will now be allocated per violation as opposed to per incident. This means that if you were speeding in an unregistered car, you will be penalised for both violations, for example.

“Your licence will also be cancelled if suspended three times.”

There will also be a so-called “issuing authority” that will hold onto your licence if suspended.

Although the demerit system was officially signed into law in September 1998, it was delayed indefinitely due to an “assessment of human resources required and an analysis of the technological necessities, amongst other reasons”.

2. 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.

3.The introduction of an Appeals Tribunal

One of the biggest changes to the Bill is the induction of an appeals tribunal.
Nagtegaal said: “This is a great addition because it means that motorists can challenge grievances as the panel will hear and adjudicate their appeals. Furthermore, if a still feels as though the tribunal’s decision is unjust, they can approach the High Court.”

4. 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).

5. 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.”

6. 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.

Source – Wheels 24