South Africa’s new demerit system is now law – this is what you earn points for

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill has been signed into law by president Cyril Ramaphosa.

The legislation has been designed to change driving behaviour through the implementation of a demerit system, in Johannesburg and Tshwane.

Each driver will start off with zero points. The maximum permissible number of points is 12. Points work on an accumulative basis with a different number of points assigned to specific traffic infringements, together with a fine.

If a driver accumulates 12 or more points, their licence will be suspended for a period of three months.

One point is reduced every three months if no further violations occur within the three-month period, but should a driver exceed three suspensions, they could lose their licence permanently, Wesbank pointed out.

A licence can be cancelled if it has been suspended for a third time.

What are the points allocated to?

These are some of the traffic offences that could increase your demerit points:

  • Driving without a licence equals four demerit points;
  • Driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance will be six demerit points (determined by court);
  • Using and holding cell phone while driving will be one demerit point;
  • Speeding can be anywhere from two to six points depending on the speed limit (determined by court);
  • Skipping a stop sign (light vehicles) is one demerit point and for buses and trucks it is two points.

“The new demerit points system is similar to what is already in use in several European countries and has been adapted for South African road users,” Wesbank said.

“A driver/operator who is disqualified for the third time will permanently lose the license/operator card and will have to reapply for testing, as if they were a first-time license/operator applicant.

“The new system will also prevent you from renewing your drivers and/or vehicle licence if you do not pay your traffic fines.”


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South Africa’s new demerit system is now law – this is what you earn points for