How Aarto will work
The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) amendment bill has moved a step closer to being signed into law. It is based on a system of points being added for traffic violations or a “demerit system.” The bill was passed through voting in the National Assembly on 5 September.
They argued, among other things, that the bill’s good intentions had become a bureaucratic nightmare, and would become a box-ticking exercise that would be costly to run.
The bill will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces for adoption and then for President Jacob Zuma to be signed into law, provided his office has no objections to its contents.
Should Parliament be satisfied with proposed amendments, the Bill will then be handed over to The National Council of Provinces (NCOP). If the council approves, Aarto could be implemented at the end of the 2017/2018 financial year.
Habitual traffic offenders will very quickly rack up the “points”, which may mean having their driver’s licences suspended or even cancelled (after three strikes) when Aarto comes into effect.
The Aarto Act aims to reduce the high rate of traffic accidents by rewarding compliant road users and taking action against reckless drivers by imposing demerit points.
Once the Aarto Act comes into effect, all drivers will start with a balance of zero with between one and six points being issued, depending on the severity of the offence.
HOW THE POINTS WORK
Lesser transgressions, including failing to yield for pedestrians, overtaking across a barrier line and driving while holding a cellphone, will result in a monetary fine and a single demerit point.
Exceeding the speed limit will result in a minimum of two points while the maximum of six demerits will be handed down to anyone found guilty of driving under the influence, travelling at or over 100km/h in a 60km/h zone, or exceeding 120km/h in an 80km/h zone.
Demerit points will be allocated to both drivers and vehicles and will be incurred when payment is made for the infringement, when found guilty of an infringement in court or when an enforcement order is served.
Upon exceeding 12 points, the vehicle or driver’s licence, professional driver’s permit or operator card will be suspended for a period in months equal to three times the number of demerits exceeding the 12-point limit.
In the case of a first and second time suspension, a point will be regained every three months while a third suspension will see the culprit required to redo their learner’s and driver’s tests afresh.
Examples of demerits