Points de­merit sys­tem moves a step closer

Draft traf­fic law to be in­tro­duced

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - THABISO THAKALI

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.

Dipuo Peters

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