Repeat offenders to be taken off the road under South Africa’s new demerit system

Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, has welcomed the passing of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Transport.

Nzimande said that the bill will now go to the National Assembly for concurrence before being signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“As a country, we are experiencing an average of just under 14,000 deaths per annum, which equates to about 38 people every single day, who lose their lives on our roads,” said Nzimande.

He added that the implementation of the Aarto bill is amongst the critical interventions to reduce these fatalities and save lives on our roads.

“Through Aarto, we are putting in place an effective, efficient and streamlined system that will take routine traffic offences out of the over-stretched court system and create incentives that increases compliance to road traffic laws.”

Changes

Nzimande said that under the new bill, fines and penalties will be standardised for all traffic violations and will give effect to the points demerit system.

“It will be for 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 the operators’ licences,” he said.

“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.”

Nzimande said that Aarto will also 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 fines imposed and those who ignore summonses to appear in court.

Read: Parliament approves new demerit system for South African motorists

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Repeat offenders to be taken off the road under South Africa’s new demerit system