MOTORING NEWS - The Admininistrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) amendment bill was passed last week in the National Assembly, paving the way for the bill to be implemented.
According to an earlier statement of the ministry of transport, Dr Blade Nzimande said Aarto will enable government to:
- overcome the wide discrepancies in the penalties imposed by different magistrates (or applied in different jurisdictions) for the same types of traffic violations;
- ensure uniformity in the different sentencing norms for the majority of serious traffic violations which are generally too low to be adequately prohibitive;
- ensure that sentences are more appropriately attuned to the differential capacity of offenders to pay - hence creating the need for alternative sentencing options;
- be tough on those who do not pay the fines imposed and those who ignore summonses to appear in court.
Under Aarto, fines and penalties will be standardised for all traffic violations and will give effect to the demerit points system.
It will be the first time that government brings certainty and effective mechanism to ensure that persistent offenders are taken off the road through license suspension, removal or loss of operators' licences. "The system brings with it improved fine collection procedures and a revenue stream that will be used for improving road safety; as well as more convenient ways of paying fines," said Nzimande.
According to information supplied by the Western Cape department of transport the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act, 1998 (Act 46 of 1998) (Aarto) is a system for managing and adjudicating traffic offences, among other things.
Aarto is intended to provide a quicker administrative process for dealing with traffic law infringements.
Aarto was to be given effect by a demerit system through which the driving licence of a driver who committed repeated traffic law infringements could be suspended and, under certain circumstances, revoked.
However, the demerit system has never been brought into effect. This may change in the near future. The Aarto amendment bill, which was passed by Parliament on 5 March this year, but has not yet been signed by the president into law, amends Aarto in a number of important ways.
Demerit point system
The point demerit system is not active yet, but according to aarto.gov.za the system will work as follows:
The demerit points system will penalise drivers and operators who are habitual offenders. But it also rewards law-abiding road users, as it reduces 1 point every 3 months down to zero demerit points if no contraventions occur.
Points are recorded against your name:
When penalties and fees are paid
When you apply to pay in instalments
When you are convicted in court
When an enforcement order is issued
How does it work?
Every person starts with 0 points and the maximum permissible number of points is 12. In other words, a person is allowed to drive until he/she has 12 points. Every point exceeding 12 points results in a three-month suspension of the licence. One point is reduced every three months if no further contraventions occur within the three-month period. A licence is cancelled when it has been suspended for the third time. The demerit points in respect of vehicle operators and drivers are recorded separately even if they arise out of the same incident.
Reduction of points
If demerit points have been incurred by an infringer, such total number of points as recorded in the national contraventions register on NaTIS against that person will be reduce with one (1) point for every three (3) months during which no demerit points were incurred by that person, except if the court finds that the court process had been deliberately delayed by that person to obtain a reduction in points.
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