CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED!South Africa’s Driver Demerit SystemAlthough the title may induce a sense of shock, the demerit system initially was signed into South African Law in the year 1998 as part of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences, hereinafter referred to as “AARTO”, Act 46 of 1998.The system will be implemented and managed by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) subject to a date that has not yet been confirmed by AARTO. It is tritely embedded in the bill, which has been passed by the National Assembly, that one of its primary objectives is to introduce new road traffic violation rules, removing the courts from the AARTO process and replacing them with a dedicated authority and one of the ways to obtain this is by the implementation of the demerit system which will come into effect once the legislation has been adopted. Other objectives of the Act are to promote road traffic quality by providing for a scheme to discourage road traffic contraventions, encouraging better driver behaviour and taking reckless, illegal or fraudulent drivers off South Africa’s roads, along with many other objectives enshrined in the preamble of the Act. TO AVOID PROLIXITY HERE IS HOW THE DEMERIT SYSTEM WILL FUNCTION:1. Every licensed driver within the Republic will commence with 0 points, hereinafter referred to as demerits, against their name. Every time that a licensed driver finds themselves within the ambits of an offence that is considered to be a transgression of the law they will accumulate demerits. 2. The said demerits have different values depending on the infringements or offences committed. They are thus allocated accordingly.3. When the offender exceeds 12 (twelve) demerits their license is suspended. In order to determine the period of their suspension it is calculated in months equal to the number of demerits exceeding 12 (twelve). In addition, the Minister of Transport may multiply the answer to the amount calculated above by three or any such number prescribed by the Minister. 4. Should the individual continue to drive after their license has been suspended, this would be regarded as a criminal offence and would be liable to a fine or imprisonment of up to one year.5. The driver may apply for the return of their license upon the expiration of the suspension period. This is a firm reminder to those individuals who consume alcohol, your blood may not have an alcohol content of more than 0.05% or 0.05g per 100ml. The sanctions imposed if you are in breach of the aforementioned include a fine or imprisonment. Regardless, you will acquire a criminal record. Written By: Jarid Jackpersadh — Candidate Legal Practitioner.