3 new driving laws planned for South Africa: minister

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says that his department is working on a number of regulatory changes to improve the safety of South Africa’s roads.

In a media briefing on Tuesday (18 January), Mbalula said this includes amendments to the National Road Traffic Act to reduce the permissible alcohol limit for motorists, which is currently being considered by parliament.

Mbalula has indicated that this could include a zero-tolerance policy on drunk driving. Under current regulations, legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers from 0.05 grams per 100 millilitres to 0.00g/100ml, and the breath alcohol concentration from 0.24g/1,000ml also to zero.

The transport minister said that his department also working on changes for truck drivers in South Africa – including further regulations around foreign drivers.

“The plight of the trucking industry remains on our radar as it plays an important role in contributing to the country’s economic growth,” he said.

“We have begun the process to amend our National Road Traffic regulations in order to regulate Professional Driving Permits both within South Africa, SADC, common market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and East African Community.”

Finally, Mbalula confirmed that his department will appeal a recent High Court ruling which declared the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act and Aarto Amendment Act unconstitutional.

The Aarto system was expected to become fully operational in July 2022, which would include the official introduction of the new traffic demerit system. The Aarto has been rolled out nationally in phases since June 2021, with phase 3 of the rollout scheduled to begin in January 2022.

“The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offence provides an adjudication system for infringements of the rules of the road determined by the National Road Traffic Act. Aarto is the final piece of the puzzle in the implementation of a new road traffic management system by the democratic state,” he said.

“The importance of Aarto in driving behaviour change of motorist and providing disincentives for unbecoming conduct cannot be overemphasised. It is for these reasons that we have decided to appeal the ruling of the Pretoria High Court declaring the Aarto Act unconstitutional and invalid.”

Increase in fatalities 

Mbalula’s comments come after South Africa reported a total of 1,685 fatalities over the 2021/2022 festive period – a 14% increase compared to last year.

“Our festive season campaign statistics reveal that road fatalities increased in seven provinces and declined in two provinces. The Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are the only provinces that recorded a decline in fatalities while the Northern Cape and Western Cape recorded the highest percentage increases in fatalities.”

Mbalula said the main causes of the road fatalities during this period were:

  • Jaywalking;
  • Speeding;
  • Wet or slippery road surfaces;
  • Overtaking across barrier lines;
  • Poor visibility.

“What is alarming is that we have had more fatalities per crash this year compared to the previous periods. This resulted in high passenger fatalities this year compared to the previous period,” he said.

“Passenger fatalities constituted 38% in the current period compared to the previous 32%. Pedestrian fatalities significantly decreased from 41%  previously to 31% in the current reporting period.”

Read: Court rules that South Africa’s controversial new driving laws are unconstitutional

Must Read

Partner Content

Show comments

Trending Now

Follow Us

3 new driving laws planned for South Africa: minister