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The new driver demerit points system will hit South African motorists on the 1st of July 2021

The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) will launch a new education campaign ahead of the South African Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offenses Act (Aarto).

The Aarto Act will introduce a new demerit-point system for motorists in the country, with the first of three phases set to launch on the 1st July 2021. According to RTIA CEO, Japh Chuwe, the ultimate intention of the Aarto Act is to create a new positive attitude that will promote safety on the country’s roads.

“There should be less fatalities that occur as a result of infringements or offenses caused by the motorists,” he said. In a statement published by RTIA on Tuesday, the 20th of October, the agency outlined some of the key changes under the new legislation.

Within 32 days of receipt of a fine notice, an infringer has several options to choose from which mainly includes paying the fine within 32 days of receipt of the notice and receive an automatic 50% discount of the fine amount, or one could elect to be tried in court.

Upon receipt of a fine notice via registered mail, the infringer will be allowed to arrange with RTIA for paying their fine in installments of R750 or more over a period of six months. Should you not respond within the first 32 days, according to RTIA, they will send a letter serving an infringement notice. This letter is called a “courtesy letter”.

“It is meant to remind the alleged infringer about the outstanding fines. It carries a R60 penalty fee and the infringer would have lost the discount at this stage,” the RTIA said. “An enforcement order will be issued if you fail to comply with the requirements of a courtesy letter, or have failed to appear in court, either following a traffic offense, or after specifically electing to be tried in court.”

The enforcement order served on you will require payment of the penalty in full, plus representation fees and the fee of the courtesy letter, if any, as well as the prescribed fee of the enforcement order within a period of 32 days of the date of service of the order.

“Until such time as you have paid the penalty and the additional fees as required in terms of an enforcement order, no license or license disk will be issued to you or in respect of a motor vehicle which is registered in your name until the enforcement order has been complied with, or has been revoked. The demerit point system has been introduced to reprimand drivers and operators who are habitual offenders.”

A traffic officer rests against the bonnet of his official vehicle in anticipation of his duties along the R71 as you enter Tzaneen. Photo: Joe Dreyer

But it also rewards law-abiding road users, as it reduces 1 point every 3 months down to zero demerit points if no further contraventions are incurred. Demerit points will be recorded against your name when penalties and fees are paid, when you apply to pay in installments, when you are convicted in court, or when an enforcement order is issued to you.

“Every motorist starts with 0 points and the maximum permissible number of points allocated is 15. In other words, a person can drive until they have 15 points accumulated from contraventions committed.”

Every point more than 15 points results in a three-month suspension of the license. One point is reduced every three months if no further contraventions are incurred within a three-month period. A license will be cancelled when it has been suspended for the third time.

“If you have a learner’s license at the time of the infringement, your demerit points will only start to reduce when your license is issued. If you are an unlicensed driver, you receive no discount, and your demerit points will only start to reduce when your license is issued. If you are caught for the third time as an unlicensed driver you will be arrested.”

An officer places bright coloured traffic cones in the middle of the R71 road surface to channel vehicles into the roadblock on the R71. Photo: Joe Dreyer

If a person incurs demerit points which exceeds a total of 15 demerit points, that person will be disqualified from driving or operating a motor vehicle and a person who is disqualified should immediately hand in any driving license or professional driving permit to the Issuing Authority for retention by such authority during the disqualification period.

Once disqualified a person may not apply for a driving license, professional driving permit, or operator card during the disqualification period.

Any person who drives or operates a motor vehicle during his or her disqualification period is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

Upon expiry of their disqualification period, a person may re-apply for and be issued with a new driving license in terms of the applicable road traffic laws.



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