#Transport Month: How the new demerit system will affect you

In an effort to make South Africa’s roads safer, the National Assembly has passed the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill (AARTO Amendment Bill), which among other things, will see the implementation of the demerit system.

This means that motorists will be penalised for traffic and road safety infringements and that they may even lose their licences if they accumulate a certain number of points.

AARTO says the demerit points system has been introduced to penalise drivers and operators who are habitual offenders, but it also rewards law-abiding road users, as it reduces by one point every three months down to zero demerit points if no contraventions occur.

How the demerit system will work

All South African drivers with a valid driver’s licence will start with 0 points. The maximum number of points allowed is 12. A person is therefore allowed to drive until they have 12 points. Every point exceeding 12 points will result in a three-month suspension of the licence. One point is reduced every three months if no further contraventions occur within the three-month period. A licence is cancelled when it has been suspended for the third time.

Upon expiry of his or her disqualification period, a person may reapply for and be issued with a driving licence, professional driving permit or operator card in terms of the applicable road traffic laws.

The AARTO task team has added amendments to the bill, following rounds of public hearings, and believe that this system will remove habitual traffic offenders from South Africa’s roads.

The changes make provision for the rehabilitation of repeat offenders and alterations to the manner in which warrants are issued.

Examples of how the system could affect your pocket

Driving an unregistered or unlicensed vehicle, driving with no licence plate visible, holding and using a cellphone, skipping a stop sign and skipping a red light could earn you a R500 fine and one demerit point.

For driving while under the influence of alcohol or exceeding 100km/h in a 60km/h zone, 140km/h in a 100km/h zone, and 160km/h in a 120km/h zone will cost you six demerit points. The court will also determine a fine to be imposed.


Caxton Central

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