New traffic laws for SA: 7 top Aarto questions answered

<i>Image: iStock</i>
<i>Image: iStock</i>

UPDATE: Thank you to all our readers for responding. We'll collate all responses and publish them in a future article.

Johannesburg - The Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, has welcomed the passing of the Aarto Amendment Bill by the National Assembly. 

The minister said that the Act will provide "the assurance to all South Africans that their lives matter and that it is about increasing road safety."  

The transport department says the bill is a direct result of "the untenable and unsustainable road safety challenge in South Africa".

Aarto amendment bill - 7 things motorists should know

Arrive Alive's Johan Jonck  approached the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA):

1 How will the Aarto Act affect drivers?  

RTIA: "Motorists will receive their fines fairly quick through electronic means such as e-mail. The attitude of alleged infringers to ignore their penalties would result in their driving licenses, Professional Driving Permits or vehicle licences being blocked on the system.

"Infringers would no longer escape liability by simply electing to go to court with the intention of flooding the court system and with the knowledge that such cases may not make it to the court roll as these courts have other criminal matters prioritised."

What do you think of the AARTO Amendment Bill? Will the demerit system curb SA's horrendous road death toll? Email us

2 The president has not nationally cleared the law, does this mean that it will not come into effect yet? 

RTIA: "The Aarto Act is implemented partially in the jurisdictions of Tshwane and Johannesburg. The amendments before Parliament would make the process easier to be implemented by all the law enforcement authorities in the country. The President with the advice of the Minister of Transport will set a date when the rest of the Act will be implemented nationally."

Transport Minister Maswanganyi welcomes Aarto
New driver demerit system: 6 things SA motorist should know

3 Regarding traffic fines - many motorists believe it could be another revenue-generator for authorities, what are your thoughts?

RTIA: "The  Aarto Actt partially deals with the issue of authorities being driven by revenue generation. In this regard, once Aarto is implemented nationally there would no authorities setting up roadblock to force motorists to pay their fines or face arrest. 

"Since the process may lead to individuals having their driving licenses suspended, the permission as granted by the Director of Prosecutions to set up speed cameras in certain locations would be reviewed and be very strict."

4 The Constitution states that every citizen has the right to legal representation- does the Aarto act address this?

RTIA: "It is not clear what the question is about. It is, however, important to indicate that the Act is known as the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences. 

"This implies that the intention was to remove these matters from the court system into the administrative process. The administrative process requires that the audi alteram partem rule is applied which is embodied through the representation elective option, further that the decisions from representations may be reviewed by the Appeals Tribunal. Lastly, section 36 of the Constitution applies to criminal cases and not administrative actions by the state organs."

5 Could driver licences be confiscated by officials? 

RTIA: The process entails the suspension of driving licenses of drivers who commit more traffic infringement and pass the threshold of 12 demerit points.

6 What advice can you share with motorists regarding the Aarto Act? 

RTIA: "Motorists should exercise caution and abide by the rules of the road. In instances where a fine has been received by a motorist, it should not be ignored but the motorist must act by exercising one of the elective options available, e.g Pay the fine within 32 days from receipt of such a fine and automatically qualify for a 50% discount on the penalty or submit a representation to the RTIA if such a motorist believes that s/he does not deserve the fine."

7 Do you think this is going to be a successful law? 

RTIA: "The law will be successful as the motorists will now realize that there would be consequences for breaking the law if caught. The less the road traffic contraventions on the roads the lesser the crashes and consequently the less road traffic fatalities."

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