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SA’s new traffic demerit system to impose ‘stricter rules’ on motorists

While Outa is taking the ‘money-making scheme’ legislation to court.
‘Promoting good road user behaviour’ is the ‘bottom line’ – RTIA spokesperson. Image: Moneyweb

The new traffic fine system proposed by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) and administered via the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act is set to promote road safety and impose stricter rules on motorists by introducing a demerit point system that could lead to the suspension or cancellation of driving licences, operator cards or professional driving permits.

“It is estimated that more than 14 000 road users die on our roads every year and this intervention seeks to reduce the high number of fatalities, perhaps ultimately to a point where we get to zero,” says Monde Mkalipi, RTIA spokesperson.

“The bottom line is most of the fatalities emerge from the behaviour of the road users.”

Mkalipi adds: “Aarto is all about promoting good road user behaviour among motorists so that we can have less cases of fatalities that occur on our roads. That is the bottom line regarding the existence of this legislation.”

Read: Aarto to hit e-toll defaulters

According to RTIA, the demerit point system will have each driver starting at zero demerit points on their driver’s licence, with the number of points accumulated depending on the nature of the traffic offence.

Failing to use indicators, for instance, will see a driver gain one demerit point and be given a R500 fine, while driving under the influence of alcohol will gain a driver six demerit points and take them to court.

Read: Payment problems surface with Aarto fines payment system

Should a driver rack up 15 demerit points, their licence will be suspended for three months. A licence suspended more than twice will however face cancellation.

One demerit point will be scrapped for every three months of ‘good behaviour’ by the driver.

Mkalipi says that should an offender pay their traffic fine within the original 32-day notice period, they will be entitled to a 50% discount.

Motorists will also be allowed to dispute the fine by submitting relevant documentation to argue their case even beyond the designated notice period.

Motive questioned

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says it is challenging the new traffic system on the grounds that the intention of the Aarto legislation is to make money and not protect road users.

“Although Outa believes that measures to improve road safety and reduce fatalities are urgently needed, we do not believe that the Aarto legislation will achieve this,” says Andrea Korff, senior legal project manager at Outa.

“Aarto was rolled out in Gauteng 10 years ago and failed spectacularly.

“Statistics do not support the claim that it will lead to a reduction in fatalities on roads and therefore Outa vehemently believe that this system is merely a money-making scheme.”

Korff says Outa has taken the matter to court to constitutionally challenge the validity of the Aarto and Aarto Amendment Act. She says the matter will only be heard on October 18 and 19 October in the high court.

Intention supported

However, driver and vehicle licensing agency Fines SA believes the new Aarto system will make a big difference to the current lawlessness on SA’s roads, once fully implemented and understood by the public.

“The reason we believe this is a big step in the right direction is that in the past motorists have been able to avoid paying their fines as they believed there would be no ramifications,” says Fines SA CEO Barry Berman.

“Aarto enforcement orders encourage payment otherwise motorists are blocked on the eNaTIs [Electronic National Administration Traffic Information System] system, [which] will curb this misconception.

“There has to be a mindset change in SA and this is our best chance.”

Phase one of the trial of the new Aarto system came into effect in July, with phase two of the trial set to run until December.

RTIA expects that the system will officially fully come into effect once President Cyril Ramaphosa makes an official decree in the government gazette.

Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.

COMMENTS   38

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Will work flawless – like all the other disasters touched by the ANC
spirit.

A private organization has to do the legal work that belongs to the opposition lawmakers. Its not just the ANC that have dismal work ethic.

But Fines SA CEO Barry Berman says it is the right thing to do!

It is not possible to have a zero road fatality statistic over a year in our country. Countries with far fewer vehicles and much stricter laws (even stricter than the proposed laws) still have road fatalities. I suppose people are gonna start buying larger KFC meals to get out of fines then.

The Aarto Act is certainly needed to improve road safety. I mean,14000 road deaths per year is unimaginable.

Everyone in South Africa, knows someone who has died in a car accident.

Right now, there are no long-term consequences for reckless driving. I imagine taxi drivers will also take heed and improve their driving, as the last thing they would want is to lose their licenses, which would make it impossible to do their jobs.

i imagine the taxi drivers will call a strike or something like that ; 12 points and 3 months suspension ??? that remains to be seen ; like it is normal in the anc failed state called rsa a bribe is the order of the day ; viva anc viva ! useless non value adding imbeciles!

They’ll probably be excluded from the demerit system as the politicians fear reprisals. Violence and the threat of violence achieves results in S.A.

So you really believe the promulgation of another raft of regulation will equate to compliance? And that the traffic authorities will go beyond sitting under bridges and trees to actually enforce the law? Or erecting more speed camera’s? Instead of active patrolling, pulling over, breathalyzer testing etc etc.?
Laws that are not strictly enforced breed contempt for the law. Taxi drivers road regulation compliance?
Which tree did you fall out of this morning?

So has Foolias and his girlfriend, Fatso Floyd ever paid any traffic fine? Go back to your shack and smoke some more nyaope, rather.

Where does the 14000 death figure come from. The 2019/2020 figure was 1616. See aa_co_za_road-deaths-blight-south-africa-aa_. And if you look at the research most of it is pedestrians under the influence. So if they lying to get this implemented it is clear there is another agenda

It’s from the article above. 2nd paragraph.

The pedestrian death fatality was something I was wondering about – will they start a similar scheme for making a quick buck by not allowing drunken pedestrians on the roads – doubt it because pedestrians don’t have money to fund the racist criminal ANC regime’s insatiable appetite for money without effort.

The drive seems to be to increase revenue as stated by OUTA. Which seems to be the driving force behind most of the enforcement at the moment. Hiding in the bushes to catch speedsters on sections of road where there is no logical reason for the speed limit in any case (no pedestrians in sight) Sasolburg is a good example where they have 80km / h speed restrictions for no logical reason. Otherwise permanent speed cameras are set up on downhills after the speed is reduced.

RSA Taxi drivers have driving Licenses?

Will definitely increase the bribes that traffic cops obtain from motorists. If license is going to be cancelled motorists will pay bribes into the thousands to prevent this.

Jip — The effectiveness of FormRSA200 !!!

Yet another way to scam the law abiding citizen whilst the unlicensed scam artists will escape scott free! Rather like Rate payers who have exorbitant increases year on year for Municipal services whilst townships make no contribution and pirated electricity is ignored! Or like the weary taxpayer keeps on coughing up and it gets stolen on the other side with no consequences. The day will come when the law abiding will revolt and say “no more!”

Agreed, law of unintentional consequences.
Back in the 1960 the US has a high number of deaths arising from all types of activities, they decided to incentivise the doctors by giving bonus based on the number of patients which a doctor cured whilst they were penalised for any patients who died, subsequently the number of deaths increased as most of the doctors were turning away patients who they suspected they thought would have a 50% of living.

The same will occur here, police officer will now shake down drivers for bribes or threaten to take their drivers license away… that is only part of the issue as having to deal with the anything related to the government is a pain, poor service and slow turnaround time is just a burden in ones life that we can all do without.

Again here the anc is focused on equality of outcome not equality of opportunity, they should rather ensure that the driving license fall part of schools curriculum as well as having online testing for renewals.

In addition, its also the roadworthiness of vehicles which cause accidents, make it mandatory for vehicles to get physically tested every two years for their road worthy certificates.

Please don’t suggest more red tape with more opportunity for making a quick buck for nothing – the ANC is likely to jump at the chance. Imagine having to queue to get the roadworthy certificate for your vehicle every two years – another day spent unproductively. It’s bad enough to have to do it every 5 years for your driver’s licence. In principal your suggestion makes sense but in SA it just is too painful.

@TaxBusta,
I agree with you, they anc will just make life more unbearable.

I have now been living in Dubai for over 5 years, bought a car a few month back. The transaction occurred at 1am on a thursday, i paid for the car in cash Roughly R80,000 at the traffic department which opens at 9am and closes at 2am 6 days a week so as to facilitate the driver license renewals; car registration and all other transactions as fast as possible.

The vehicle was tested, took 30min, i showed proof of payment, then registered the card and purchased my insurance straight out for 1 year (R3,200) after which i drove the car home.

When governments facilitate efficiently, ensure law and order then the economy will grow.

How many points for cruising in the right lane while faster vehicles then have to pass in the left lane? That alone is a cause for accidents and I have never seen a traffic officer policing that. Speed fines remain the easy money spinner.

ah, the Capetownians’ favourite pass time – dawdling in the overtaking lane.

At least 50% of the vehicles on SA’s roads are not roadworthy either. Will these be removed from the roads? They cause accidents by being unroadworthy and also by frustrating other motorists.

As long as taxi drivers, delivery bikes and a whole host of drivers simply skip red lights, in full sight of cops who do nothing, a new system will make no difference.

Also, why are SA’n drivers both so chilled (drive like 20km per hour) and aggressive at the same time?
No it needs a change of habits on the part of drivers for any system to work.

And how many demerit points for driving without a licence?

Get caught without a license three times and they take away your license.

think about that logic…

No mention is made of the K53 monstrosity, or the condition of our roads. K53 was kicked out years ago by other users, since it was found to be a money making racket, which didn’t deliver decent drivers. Of course, not in SA. No, here we embrace it and add a money making demerit system just to make sure all money making sides are covered. Then our roads; what a shameful disaster! Government should hang its collective head in shame at the condition of our roads. But, instead of fixing the potholes, we get demerited, despite the fact that you have to drive like a drunk person to avoid the potholes. Its government that should be demerited.

The K53 system is so impractical. You need to get an instructor to teach you how to pass the test and then you can learn to drive properly. Instead of K53 they should teach you how to drive defensively.

My car is being repaired for suspension and wheel bearings damage yet again. It is impossible to get across Natal without serious pothole damages. In poor visibility it is a life risking venture and should be avoided for safety reasons. The responsible persons should be locked up for manslaughter and attempted murder.

How about routing out all the fake drivers licenses? Plus proper driver training & testing?

Just another “law/regulation” that no one will bother about. A pointless exercise (forgive the pun).

Personally, I view the way societies comply with traffic laws as a mirror of how much they respect the country’s law and order system.

They can’t even manage fines. Received a fine, not my plate on the photo. Drove and saw the clerk of the court in the jurisdiction, 40km away, with copies et al, on my time. Even received a chap and promise that they’ll fix it.

This was three months ago. The fine is still on the system.

The clerk mentioned that the fines were outsourced and many mistakes are coming in. Wonder how many pay without checking?

Good point – watch how many fake licence plates will be used. I had a bill from SANRAL for e-tolls where some other car had my licence plate. This will surely increase the incentive.

“The clerk mentioned that the fines were outsourced”: this shows once again the work for which they earn a salary is done by a third party – most probably because as a government employee he / she is not capable of doing the work they were employeed for. would like to know if the third party is working for a fixed compensation or if it is based on the innings from fines he generated

As far as I am concerned the only people who are an absolute menace on the roads of this country are the taxi drivers and everyone knows that! How’s about implementing the new traffic fine system to taxis only, I can guarantee there will be less accidents and our roads will be a lot safer!

All of these fancy laws, point systems etc mean absolutely nothing if there’s no effective enforcement. We do not have effective (read corruption/bribery free) enforcement of any of our laws, so this is just another paper exercise to make it seem like the Minister of Social Media (apologies, Transport) is doing something to earn his salary.

I typed a very long comment but deleted the whole thing and simply have one question to ask, how on Earth do they expect to accomplish this with the taxis (which incidentally are also owned by politicians and politically connected people)

Imagine a South Africa where taxis paid their fair share of tax? (regardless of how that tax is misappropriated)

AARTO has good intentions; but I cannot see how our police and traffic officers will enforce these regulations. They must start by doing the basics right like taking bloods when they suspect drink-and-drive, roping in the lawlessness by our taxi drivers.

End of comments.

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