Driver de­merit-bill given green light

Grocott's Mail - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

A Bill that is ex­pected to in­tro­duce a de­merit sys­tem that will see se­rial traf­fic of­fend­ers los­ing their driver’s li­cences has been given the thumbs-up by the Na­tional Assem­bly.

The Bill was in­tro­duced to Par­lia­ment to amend the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ad­ju­di­ca­tion of Road Traf­fic Of­fences Act of 1998.

Af­ter a vote, 225 MPs voted in favour of the Bill be­ing sent to the Na­tional Coun­cil of Prov­inces for con­cur­rence. Eighty-eight MPs re­jected it, while no MPs ab­stained.

Lead­ing a de­bate on the Bill prior to the vote, Trans­port Min­is­ter Joe Maswan­ganyi said the Bill was be­ing in­tro­duced to im­prove driver be­hav­iour on the back of an alarm­ing in­crease in car­nage on South Africa’s roads.

When the Min­is­ter re­leased the Easter week­end road deaths sta­tis­tics a few months ago, he said the to­tal num­ber of deaths had risen by 51% - from 156 over the same pe­riod in 2016, to 235 in 2017.

“The tabling of this Bill is a di­rect re­sult of the un­ten­able and un­sus­tain­able road safety sit­u­a­tion in our coun­try. We are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a tremen­dous loss of lives, espe­cially of young peo­ple, as well as the con­tin­ued break­down of road traf­fic laws,” he said.

He said South Africa needs to ur­gently act with a de­ter- mined com­mit­ment to change the road safety sit­u­a­tion. He said the Aarto Act, which has been pi­loted in Tsh­wane and Jo­han­nes­burg, seeks to:

• pro­mote road traf­fic qual­ity by pro­vid­ing for a scheme to dis­cour­age road traf­fic rules con­tra­ven­tions;

• fa­cil­i­tate the ad­ju­di­ca­tion of road traf­fic in­fringe­ment to sup­port the pros­e­cu­tion of of­fences in terms of the na­tional and pro­vin­cial laws re­lat­ing to road traf­fic, and im­ple­ment the de­merit points sys­tem and pro­vide for the es­tab­lish­ment of an agency to ad­min­is­ter the scheme.

“When we im­ple­ment Aarto na­tion­ally, we will also im­ple­ment the de­merit points sys­tem.

“The point de­merit sys­tem pro­vides for an easy and ob­jec­tive mech­a­nism of iden­ti­fy­ing ha­bit­ual in­fringers so that the ap­pli­ca­ble penal­ties can be ef­fected on them.

“Those that con­tinue to break the law will find them­selves ul­ti­mately los­ing their driver’s li­censes through sus­pen­sions and can­cel­la­tions.

The Min­is­ter said the Bill will make pro­vi­sion for the elec­tric ser­vice of doc­u­ments, which makes it eas­ier for all road users to be in­formed of the sta­tus of in­fringe­ments.

“It fur­ther en­sures that the ser­vice of doc­u­ments is ef­fected at the low­est cost,” he said. –

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