South Africa’s strict new driving laws planned for this year

 ·10 Jan 2021

The new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act is expected to be formally introduced in 2021, along with the country’s new demerit system.

In October, Transport minister Fikile Mbalula gazetted the latest draft of the Aarto regulations, detailing how the country’s new demerit system will work.

The 540-page directive states that the 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.

Read: What to expect from car sales in South Africa in 2021

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