South Africa’s new driving rules have failed before they even started

The City of Cape Town has raised serious concerns about the efficacy of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, which is due to come into effect from 1 July 2021.

The Aarto aims to introduce significant changes to driving laws in the country, including a new demerit system.

It will also be responsible for the administration, collection and adjudication of fines related to road traffic offences. Aarto has outlined its objective as the reduction in road fatalities.

This objective does not appear to be achieved in the province where this was piloted, it said.

“The City is considering its options to challenge the implementation of Aarto specifically with regard to its functionality.

“We believe it is ineffective in reducing road fatalities. The other objection would be related to the powers of law enforcement where Aarto legislation appears to conflict with local government mandate as far as it relates to traffic and parking,” said the city’s mayoral committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith.

In a comparison of fatal crashes, the Western Cape has a consistent and significantly lower number than Gauteng. This is based on data from annual traffic reports provided by the Road Traffic Management Corporation, which is the lead road safety agency in the country, Smith said.

“When we look at the numbers, Gauteng generally has double the number of fatal crashes – whereas in the Western Cape, fatal crashes appear to be decreasing.

“In addition, Aarto should include all aspects of unsafe driving, instead of focusing on those infringements, which are already covered by traffic law enforcement,” said Smith.

Read: A R3,500 fine – and other changes drivers in South Africa should know about

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South Africa’s new driving rules have failed before they even started