The government has made some changes to the AARTO (Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences) Act and motorists can expect to be inconvenienced. The new road laws are meant to decrease traffic violations.
While the AARTO Amendment Bill is almost in its final stages of approval, experts are saying the new laws will inconvenience transport companies and motorists a lot.
AARTO is laws brought in by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency and is aimed at making South Africa's roads safer.
Alta Swanepoel, LexisNexis’ legal author and transport expert, says the changes made to the act should be looked at carefully to avoid violating the law.
The AARTO Act will affect the way fines from traffic violations are handled. If a payment is not made according to the fine given, the motorist will receive an enforcement order. Drivers could be blocked from getting vehicle and driving licences as well as pay an administrative fee.
The way notices and fines are delivered will change too. Drivers will receive warnings and documents through SMS, WhatsApp messages or email.
This will be immediately assumed 'delivered' and drivers won't be able to argue that they didn't receive any notices or fines.
The South African reports that traffic fines will no longer be challenged legally.
This makes the proposed Bill unconstitutional since the right to appeal will be taken away.
According to Swanepoel, this specific clause might not be finalised as it is being contested.
A new demerit points system is also proposed.
Based on this system, drivers licences could be cancelled or suspended. This system is being used in other countries and is quite successful.
Motorists will start with 0 points and points will be allocated according to the violations made.
The severity of the violation will determine the amount of points a driver is 'awarded'. When a driver has more than 12 points, their licence will be suspended. After 3 suspensions the driver's licence will be cancelled.
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