Driving demerit points and fines for speeding under South Africa’s new AARTO rules

 ·2 Aug 2023

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act is expected to start rolling out nationwide in the next year, bringing with it a host of changes for drivers in South Africa.

Key among the coming changes is a new driving demerit system which will see road users punished for stepping outside the laws while driving – or even beyond.

How it will work

The system will penalise drivers and operators of motor vehicles who are guilty of traffic or road infringements through a system of demerit points, which may result in the suspension or cancellation of driving licences.

The transport department has said the government will move with speed with the implementation of the demerit system, which is an important cornerstone of the AARTO Act. 

The system will involve demerit points being allocated according to the severity of infringements committed.

The AARTO Act provides for a system whereby a person, operator or juristic person who is not an operator, pays the penalty and incurs points when a traffic infringement is committed.

Under the demerit system, vehicles are not punished by the system, but the operator/juristic person is held responsible for the use of the vehicle.

Upon implementation of the demerit system, everyone will commence with zero points.

A 2020 government gazette details the Schedule 3 demerit points and penalties and according to the document, an offender will receive a penalty, and in addition to the penalty, the offender also receives demerit points to the specific infringement or offence.

If the demerit points exceed the maximum 15 points, a person, operator or juristic person who is not an operator will be disqualified from driving or using the vehicle for three months for every point surpassing the 15 points.

According to the gazette’s Explanatory Memorandum on Schedule 3 demerit points and penalties, points for offences and infringements range between one and six.

While the demerit points apply to a whole range of infringements (over 2,000), these are the demerit points as they relate to speeding.

Demerits40 zone60 zone80 zone100 zone120 zoneFine
051 to 5571 to 7591 to 95111 to 115131 to 135R250
156 to 6076 to 8096 to 100116 to 120136 to 140R500
261 to 6581 to 85101 to 105121 to 125141 to 145R750
366 to 7086 to 90106 to 110126 to 130146 to 150R1 000
4 71 to 7591 to 95111 to 115131 to 135151 to 155R1 250
576 to 8096 to 100116 to 120136 to 140156 to 160R1 500
*** at this level it becomes a criminal offence and the driver will face charges

The full schedules as they are in Johannesburg and Tshwane can be found here.

If demerit points are allocated to a person or vehicle and no further demerit points are accrued in three months after receiving the previous demerit point, a reduction of one point on the total number of demerit points will be recorded on the system.

A person’s driving licence card and the operator card of a motor vehicle must be handed in for the disqualification period. Upon a third disqualification, the licence will be cancelled.

This then means that an individual must apply for a new learner’s licence and driving licence once the disqualification period ends.


As an entity of the Department of Transport which is mandated with assisting motorists in managing and resolving AARTO fines, the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) says the AARTO seeks to encourage compliance with road traffic laws.

“It is our hope that [the] reduction in traffic violations will automatically also result in reduction of road crashes, injuries and fatalities,” he said.

The agency offers road users the various legislated AARTO elective options ranging from a 50% discount, nomination of driver in charge of vehicle, submission of representations to dispute an infringement and the request to pay in instalments.


In addition, the agency is reviewing its AARTO Master Implementation Plan to determine the shape and form of the AARTO national rollout. Previously, the department had said implementation would follow a phased-in approach.

“Currently consultations are underway with members of the AARTO National Steering Committee who are representing various issuing authorities (national road traffic agencies, provinces and municipalities) to determine the most feasible way to kick-start the AARTO national rollout,” said Mkalipi.

At a recent media briefing, Chikunga said motorists can expect the nationwide full implementation of the AARTO Act in July 2024.

The agency said the testing of the implementation of the AARTO Act in Gauteng’s Tshwane and Johannesburg in 2008, has provided a firm commitment that the agency is ready to rollout AARTO throughout the country.

While the agency continues to engage with stakeholders to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of how the act and its amendment will work, it will also continue educating road users on the legislation and its implications for those who do not comply.

While there has been some sentiment that the AARTO will be hard to implement, the RTIA is of a different view.

“With the eagerness to rollout AARTO by various partners, the RTIA strongly believes the AARTO rollout will be a great success. As we speak, we have the NaTIS [National Administration Traffic Information System] that is active in all municipalities across the country. Since AARTO is a highly automated system, the RTIA should be able to roll out AARTO with existing network on the NaTIS.

“We have prepared so well for the implementation of AARTO which includes the Points Demerit System and the Rehabilitation programme. All these elements of AARTO are being packaged for automation and loading into the NaTIS,” Mkalipi explained.

The rehabilitation programme will see habitual infringers who have their licenses cancelled attending rehabilitation programmes to be allowed back into the driving fold.

(With SAnews)

Read: New driving licences coming soon to South Africa – these are the big changes

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