Everything you need to know about South Africa’s incoming traffic demerit system

A meeting of the national Aarto task team will take place in Bloemfontein before the end of February in preparation for the planned country-wide roll-out of the demerit points system.

The demerit points system was introduced in a pilot program across Gauteng in 2008, in order to penalise drivers and operators who are habitual offenders.

However, the system also rewards law-abiding road users, as it reduces 1 point every 3 months down to zero demerit points if no contraventions occur.

Based on the current system (as provided for on the official Aarto website), the following will apply, country wide, following the planned roll-out.


How can you receive a demerit?

Every person starts with 0 points and the maximum permissible number of points a driver can earn is 12. 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.

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.


When will you receive a demerit?

You will receive a demerit in the following instances:

  • 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.

Reducing Demerits

The total number of points will be reduced by one point for every three months during which no demerit points were incurred by that person, except for when the court finds that the court process had been deliberately delayed by that person to obtain a reduction in points.


Losing your licence

If a person exceeds a total of twelve demerit points, that person will be disqualified from driving or operating a motor vehicle. The disqualification period equals in months the number of points by which the total of twelve is exceeded, multiplied by three.

A person who is so disqualified:

  • Must immediately hand in any driving licence or professional driving permit to the issuing authority for retention by such authority during the disqualification period or must remove the prescribed operator card from the vehicle in applicable cases; and
  • May not apply for a driving licence, professional driving permit or operator card during the disqualification period.

Any person who drives or operates a motor vehicle during his or her disqualification period is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both a fine and such imprisonment.


Points

Infringement Fine amount Demerit points
Licences and miscellaneous
Driving an unregistered vehicle R500 1
Driving an unlicensed vehicle R500 1
Driving a vehicle with licence plate not visible R500 1
Driving without a driving licence R1,250 4
Driving without a seat belt R250 0
Driving under influence of intoxicating substance Determined by court 6
Driving while holding and using a cellphone R500 1
Failing to stop
Skipping a stop sign (light vehicles) R500 1
Skipping a stop sign (buses, trucks) R750 2
Skipping a red light (light vehicles) R500 1
Skipping a red light (buses, trucks) R750 2
Failing to yield to a pedestrian R500 1
Overtaking and overloading
Overtaking across a barrier line (light vehicles) R500 1
Overtaking across a barrier line (buses, trucks) R750 2
Overloading a vehicle with max 56,000kg combination mass by 12-13.99% R1,500 5
Speeding
81-85km/h in a 60km/h zone R750 2
100km/h+ in a 60km/h zone Determined by court 6
106-110km/h in an 80km/h zone R1,000 3
120km/h+ in an 80km/h zone Determined by court 6
121-125km/h in a 100km/h zone R750 2
131-135km/h in a 100km/h zone R1,250 4
140km/h+ in a 100km/h zone Determined by court 6
131-135km/h in a 120km/h zone R250 0
141-145km/h in a 120km/h zone R750 2
151-155km/h in a 120km/h zone R1,250 4
160km/h+ in a 120km/h zone Determined by court 6

Why was it delayed so long?

The Demerit System was signed into law in September 1998 as part of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) according to Arrive Alive. This system, based on similar systems in Australia, and the United Kingdom, has been adapted to meet local needs.

The proposed system has been delayed for several years pending, amongst other reasons, a feasibility study and an assessment of technological requirements, law enforcement criteria and an analysis of human resources needed to ensure the successful implementation of the system.


Opposition

Democratic Alliance DA

Speaking to MoneyWeb and other media this past week, Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga has indicated that the DA-led municipalities of Tshwane and Johannesburg will officially withdraw from the pilot program.

Msimanga cited a failure to implement the system effectively and other financial concerns as reasons for the planned withdrawal.

The two municipalities will have little choice but to follow the rest of the country should the planned country-wide roll-out go ahead – however this could be the first indication of stiff resistance to the new system from opposition parties.


Read: These are the worst hijacking hotspots in South Africa

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