Both individual employees and entire businesses are likely to suffer the effects of the latest AARTO amendment and incoming demerit system.
This is according to Beata Warnich, associate at SchoemanLaw, who notes that the new system will introduce a ‘point system’ which will penalise drivers for traffic violations.
Traffic violations result in points being allocated to a driver’s licence. Once 12 points have been allocated, a driver’s license will be suspended. Should a driver’s licence be suspended three times, the license will be permanently revoked.
However, should no violations occur within a period of three months, 1 point will be deducted.
As a result, the AARTO amendment has serious implications for the South African transport industry and will affect all employees from senior management to even an entry-level driver, said Warnich.
“Should a driver in the transport industry violate a traffic offence and his/her license is suspended, the business suffers loss in being unable to deliver on time.
“However, the business is not the only one that suffers loss. The driver would normally either be given a warning for his/her misconduct, be demoted for being unable to drive, be dismissed for incapacity and/or retrenched for failing to comply with the operational requirements of the business.
“This system could have devastating effects on owner-driver employees in that they may stand to lose their livelihoods once their licenses have been suspended which could result in fleet operations being grounded.”
Warnich added that drivers need to be aware of the demerit point system to avoid disciplinary action, either being suspended or dismissed.
“It should be noted that it is possible to incur several demerit points in a single incident as the points awarded is per violation and not per incident,” she said.