AARTO is on the way!
Do you know about the AARTO (Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences) Act? The Act, which was originally published in 1998, introduces a demerit system for traffic violations. It was piloted in Johannesburg and Tshwane in 2008 and, according to Department of Transport, an amended version of the Act will likely come into effect nationwide in July 2021.
Why do we even need this Act?
South Africa has one of the highest road accident and fatality rates with almost 14 000 reported deaths occurring on our roads. These are the result of the disregard of traffic rules relating to speeding, driving drunk and unroadworthy vehicles. The Act will introduce a demerit system that will penalise drivers for each offence, making it easy to weed out frequent offenders and hopefully decrease the chances and occurrences of road fatalities.
Ok, so how will it work?
If you commit a traffic offence, demerits will be allocated to your licence. Should you get 12 demerits, your licence will be suspended. The good news is that if you have demerits on your licence and do not offend for three months, you will get one demerit deducted, and again for every offence free three months after that. The number of demerits allocated to your licence depends on the type and severity of the traffic offence as seen in the table below:
|Driving at 89-90 km/h in a 60 km/h zone
|Driving at more than 90 km/h in a 60 km/h zone
|Failed to stop behind the line at a stop street
|Failed to proceed when a traffic light was green
|Skipped a red traffic light – motorcycle/light motor vehicle/bakkie, etc.
|Skipped a red traffic light – operator class vehicles
|Refused or failed to comply with a lawful order given by an authorised officer
|Failed to licence a vehicle
How does this affect Taxipreneurs?
Taxis are classified as operator class vehicles. This means that points will be allocated to both the driver and the owner’s licence. A suspension will result in the driver not being able to drive and the taxi not being allowed to work. The best way to avoid these headaches is to keep to the laws of the road.
What can you do about it?
Should you infringe the Act, an infringement notice that sets out the details of the alleged infringement will be sent to you. The notice will also provide you with various options which may be exercised within 32 days. You can:
- Pay the penalty (fine) at the 50% discounted rate;
- Apply to pay in instalments, over a maximum term of six months (if you choose this option, you will no longer qualify for the discount);
- Make a written representation to the RTIA explaining why you should not be held liable for the alleged infringement;
For any AARTO related questions or services, you can visit any RTIA branches including the outlet in our Midrand offices at 179 15th Road, Randjespark, Midrand. The AARTO officials at the office can help you:
- Make a representation to dispute a traffic violation,
- Nominate a driver if you were not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation,
- Apply to revoke an enforcement order,
- Arrange to pay for infringements in instalments, or
- Elect to be tried in court.