The controversial Administrative Adjudication of Traffic Offences (AARTO) Bill has been made law by President Cyril Ramaphosa. This legislation will change the behaviour of drivers through the implementation of a demerit system.
Each driver will begin with a clean slate of zero points, and thereafter, will gain points for each transgression. The maximum number of points a driver can accrue is 12 points.
The points accrued will also be accompanied by a fine.
If a driver accumulates 12 points or more, they will be suspended from driving for a period of three months. If no other infringements occur in the three-month period, one point will be reduced. If a driver is suspended thrice – or reaches 12 demerit points thrice – their license may be permanently suspended.
Some of the biggest changes that come with the Bill include:
– Failure to settle one’s traffic fines will lead to a block in obtaining driving and vehicle licences, as well as a penalty in the form of an administrative fee
– Authorities will now be able to serve documents electronically, instead of through the traditional channel of delivering documents by hand
– Reminders can now be sent via SMS or WhatsApp
– The new demerit system will mean that one to six points will be allocated per offence. If a motorist accrues more than 12 points, their licence will be disqualified. After three suspensions, their licence will be revoked completely.
The traffic offenses that will result in accruing demerit points include:
– Driving without a licence = four demerit points
– Driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance = six demerit points
– Using and holding cell phone while driving = one demerit point
– Speeding = two to six points
– Skipping a stop sign for light vehicles = one demerit point
– Skipping a stop sign for buses and trucks = two points
For now, the system will only apply to Tshwane and Johannesburg, but it is unclear whether it will at any point affect other provinces as well.