Points demerit system moves a step closer
Draft traffic law to be introduced
TRANSPORT Minister Dipuo Peters has moved one step closer to implementing a draft traffic law which might pave the way for the introduction of the points demerit system.
This week Peters gave notice of intention to introduce the longstanding Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences ( Aarto) Amendment Bill to Parliament. which proposes a stringent new regimen for offenders.
The system will come down hard on drivers who commit serious offences and see suspension of licences for up to 12 months.
If a licence has been suspended three times, it will be cancelled.
The bill will also make it possible for the national rollout of Aarto, which has been in place only in Joburg and Tshwane for almost a decade.
The bill, which is intended to give the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), the custodian of the Aarto, more teeth to achieve its mandate, seeks to close “glaring loopholes” in the law and intro- duce innovative ways of enforcing it.
These include e-mailing of traffic fines to vehicle owners, mandatory driver retesting for repeat offenders and possibly compulsory community service in road accident trauma unit wards or state mortuaries for drivers who endanger the lives of others.
The requirement to notify motorists of their infringement by registered or handdelivered mail only has been changed in the bill to include cost-effective methods of service, such as e-mail.
The benefit of this, according to the agency’s registrar, Japh Chuwe, is that “people will get their fines much quicker”. “We have done everything that is required from our side. The tabling of an amendment bill in Parliament is beyond our control.”
The method of serving of fines to motorists has been a thorny issue for several years, since Aarto began, with the Joburg Metro Police often flouting the rule to serve their notices via registered mail.
The RTIA said the idea behind the proposed law was that serious offenders understand the impact of their actions and witness the unnecessary loss of life.
According to the agency’s analysis of road traffic offences last year and this year, under the points demerit system one in 10 bad Gauteng drivers would have had licences suspended and one in 20 would have had them cancelled.
The agency said the national rollout of Aarto would begin in April, followed by the demerit points system.
The draft law is likely to be rushed through the parliamentary process.