South Africa’s new driving rules are coming – here’s what you will get demerit points for

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has gazetted the latest draft of the administrative adjudication of road traffic offences (Aarto) regulations, detailing how the country’s new demerit system will work.

The 540-page directive states that the new Aarto Act is due for a national roll-out on 1 July 2021.

Following this, the allocation of demerit points will be introduced in three phases to ensure road users are gradually introduced to the implications of the demerit point system.

The Aarto Act provides for a system whereby a person, operator or company (juristic person) pays the penalty and incur points when a traffic infringement is committed.

The demerit points are allocated to the operators and owners of motor vehicles. If a vehicle is suspended it may not be sold or used on a public road.

If an operator or juristic person does sell a vehicle or scrap or export such vehicle, the demerit points will remain against the record of the operator/juristic person and be allocated to the next vehicle the company purchases.

However, vehicles are not punished by the system – only the driver/juristic person is held responsible for the use of its vehicle.

The points will work as follows:

  • The offender/infringer receives a penalty, and in addition to the penalty, they also receive the demerit points allocated to the specific offence.
  • If the demerit points exceed the maximum points (15 points), a person will be disqualified from driving or using the vehicle for a period of time (three months for every point exceeding 15 points);
  • The points for the offences and infringements range between six and one;
  • The maximum for a person or operator card or a licence disc for a juristic person who is not an operator is 15 points;
  • The maximum for a learner driver is six points;
  • The time value of each point is three months for disqualification or reduction purposes;
  • If demerit points are allocated to a person or vehicle record 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 licences will be cancelled. A person must apply for a new learner’s licence and driving licence once the disqualification period is over.

The below table provides a brief overview of the demerit points and fines you can expect, although this is subject to change at a later date.

The demerit points are outlined in more detail in the gazette.

Infringement Fine amount Demerit points (for non-juristic persons)
Failure to comply and licences
Failure to stop vehicle on the command of a traffic officer N/A 6
Failure to comply with the direction of a police officer who is directing traffic R2 000 3
Operated a vehicle on a public road with expired licence R2 000 3
Operated a vehicle on a public road without a licence R2 000 3
Driving a vehicle with a learner’s licence with no licensed driver in the car R3 500 5
Roadworthiness and lights
Removed or altered components of vehicle affecting its roadworthiness R3 500 5
Operated a vehicle with a brake that is not in good working order R3 500 5
Operated a vehicle with a damaged lamp (light) R1 000 1
Operated a vehicle between sunset and sunrise or during unfavourable visibility conditions without lamps R1 500 2
Stop lamp (light) not emitting a red light when in use R1 000 1
Seatbelts 
Driver did not ensure that all passengers were wearing seatbelts R1 500 1
Vehicle not fitted with seatbelts correctly R1 000 1
Seatbelts not working properly R500 1
Traffic signs and speed limits
Failed to obey stop sign R1 500 2
Failed to obey yield sign R1 000 1
Failed to obey directions at a four-way stop sign R1 500 2
Failed to comply with directions of a road traffic sign by not maintaining or exceeding the specified speed limit R1 000 1
Failed to comply with directions of a road traffic sign by not passing on the left-hand side R500 1

The full schedules can be found below:

Demerit System Points by BusinessTech on Scribd


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South Africa’s new driving rules are coming – here’s what you will get demerit points for