It has been in the wings for years, a new law that governs the way in which traffic offences will be sorted out in the country.
The overall idea is to stem the carnage that happens so unnecessarily on our roads by introducing stricter penalties for people who drive dangerously.
So, in essence that’s a good thing. What waits to be seen is if it actually has the desired effect.
After years in the making, the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act has started its four-phase roll-out this month, with an eye to having it fully operational from the start of July next year.
The details are quite complicated, but there will be some serious consequences for you, the daily motorist, and it’s best we take a quick look so as to get prepared for the changes when they kick in.
There has been plenty of pushback at local government level, with the objection that the new rules are going to be near impossible to execute but, irrespective of how people feel, it is becoming a reality.
Basically, traffic violations will be dealt with through an administrative process instead of the current criminal process. But, no luck, old fines will not be cancelled.
Bottom line, is if you get enough violations, your driving licence will be suspended. And apparently it can happen really quickly.
The Road Safety Partnership SA (RSPSA), an organisation committed to creating a country free of crashes and road deaths, urges drivers to get a head start at changing bad habits.
RSPSA says: “Many motorists may be surprised at how quickly you can accumulate the 12 points that will result in the three-month suspension of your driving licence.
“If you depend on your vehicle to get to work or even perform your job, you would effectively be removing your own ability to generate an income or face even harsher penalties.”
A speeding fine gets you six points, then another three for skipping a red light, and sooner than you know the 12 points are notched up and your licence is suspended.
Many drivers commit these offences routinely but now the punishment will really hit home. On one hand, there are going to be some p!ssed off people, on the other, this law can inspire us all to simply become better, more considerate drivers. In fact, one demerit point can be awarded for “inconsiderate driving”.
“Ultimately, you can prevent yourself from landing in this precarious situation by simply becoming a better driver.
No driver has anything to fear if they drive within the confines of the law. Not only will you protect yourself from being negatively impacted by the demerit system but you will do your part in creating safer roads in South Africa,” says the RSP-SA.