More guidelines on the new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (Aarto) regulations have just been gazetted, bringing new rules on driving in the country.

The new Aarto Act will be rolled out nationally on July 1, 2021. The demerit system will be introduced in three phases to gradually get motorists used to the new system.

The demerit points system has been introduced to penalise drivers and operators who are habitual offenders. It also rewards law-abiding road users, as it reduces 1 point every 3 months down to zero demerit points if no contraventions occur.

Phase One of the demerit system will focus on demerits for speeding, dangerous overtaking, and hazardous driving behaviour like ignoring stop signs, as well as roadworthy offences like faulty brakes. Driving without a valid driver’s licence or permit also falls under this phase.

Phase Two will come into effect once the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) evaluates the initial phases efficacy. In this phase, demerits will be issued for those committing offences with economic significance. This includes the protection of roads and bridges through overload control, cross border road transport permits and operating licences in terms of the national land transport legislation.

In Phase Three, administrative issues like failing to update addresses and other relevant information will be included as demerit-worthy.

Demerits can range from one to six points, depending on the offence. If a motorist has more than 15 demerits, they will be disqualified from driving for a period of time. There is a three month ban for every point exceeding 15 points. The maximum demerits a learner driver may have is six.

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