South Africa’s strict new driving laws coming in July

 ·6 Jan 2022

The new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act is expected to become fully operational in July 2022, more than a year after the legislation was officially scheduled to be introduced.

The Aarto system will penalise drivers and fleet operators found guilty of traffic offences or infringements by imposing demerit points that could lead to the suspension or cancellation of licences, professional driving permits or operator cards.

Phase 1 of the Aarto, which ran from July to September 2021, as part of a pilot exercise, has seen the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) increase its national footprint by implementing seven service outlets and online services such as the Aarto website and deployment of the Aarto mobile application.

Phase 2 of the project, which ran between October and December 2021, would see the Aarto come online in 67 local and metropolitan municipal areas, the agency said.

Phase 3 of the Aarto, which is expected to officially begin in January, is the penultimate phase of the programme and is expected to last six months as the system is rolled out to municipalities across the country ahead of its launch on 1 July 2022.

A further breakdown of the different phases can be found below:

Phase Dates Description
Phase 1 1 July 2021 –
30 September 2021
  • Establishment of 7 Aarto Service Outlets.
  • The start of the processing of Aarto elective options in Issuing Authorities & Aarto Service Outlets.
  • Deepen nationwide Aarto awareness.
Phase 2 1 October 2021 –
31 December 2021
  • Implementation of Aarto in 67 local & metro municipal areas.
  • 18 Aarto Service Outlets will also be established.
  • Aarto adjudication process shall also commence.
  • The Appeals Tribunal will become functional.
Phase 3 1 January 2022 –
30 June 2022
  • Introduction of Aarto in the remaining proclaimed 144 Local Municipal Areas
Phase 4 1 July 2022
  • Introduction of the Points Demerit System on 01 July 2022.
  • Phasing in of the Rehabilitation program.
  • 20 self-service kiosks will also be established.

Demerit points

The Aarto will penalise both motorists and owners guilty of traffic offences or infringements by imposing demerit points that could lead to the suspension or cancellation of licences.

While actual fine and demerit amounts have not yet been officially gazetted, the RTIA has previously provided an example of the fines and demerit points that infringing drivers are likely to receive under the new system.

This includes a R500 and one demerit point infringement for driving while using a mobile phone, as well as a R750 and two demerit point fine for driving more than 20km/h over the speed limit in a designated zone.

Drivers/operators will be able to pay infringements in a number of ways, including at driver licence testing centres. Motorists will also be able to use Pay@ facilities at retailers including:

  • Builders Warehouse
  • Checkers
  • Makro and Game
  • Spar
  • Shoprite
  • U-Save

Read: Call to scrap 5-year driving licence in South Africa

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