POLL: Does SA's driver demerit system have merit? - motorists share their thoughts on controversial law

Image: iStock
Image: iStock

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act and Amendment Bill is a controversial issue. 

Aarto's main goal, says the Transport Department, is to "make roads safer by removing habitual traffic offenders from South Africa's roads and highways". Of course, while most will agree that more needs to be done to improve road safety, government's last attempt at regulating drivers (i.e e-tolls) caused more chaos than order.

That aside, companies need to understand their responsibilities as well as ways to protect themselves from possible liability relating to employees’ driving offences.

"While there is no proxy system when it comes to the demerit system, companies are responsible for their company fleet, and need to ensure a system is in place for company drivers to comply with the Aarto Act," says Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).

READ: Here's how SA's new demerit system will affect you

Does the demerit system have merit? 

Despite its good intentions, the demerit system can also pose a significant threat to the insurance industry, which traditionally has low penetration among motor and other vehicle class owners.

A few years ago, the Automotive Association (AA) estimated that 65% of all vehicles on our roads are uninsured. Vera Nagtegaal, Executive Head of Hippo.co.za, explains that implementing the demerit system has numerous implications for the insurance industry: "The suspension of a motorist’s license is likely to increase their insurance premiums or excess, influenced by greater perceived risk on the insurer’s part."

More questions left unanswered

This poses further applicable considerations: How will an insured motorist afford higher premiums or excess when their license gets suspended? Will the motorist with the suspended license forfeit their insurance cover and thereby be precluded from obtaining vehicle insurance from any other service provider? How will this affect the insurance industry at large? A reduction in the industry’s size will invariably lead to job losses – how will these individuals be absorbed into the labour market?

We asked readers to share their thoughts on the demerit system below:





We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Who should have replaced Sergio Perez at this weekend's British GP?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Sebastian Vettel - At least he'll get a taste of what the 2021 car will be like
26% - 560 votes
Nico Hulkenberg - He's been with the team before
28% - 587 votes
Fernando Alonso - A true racer, and the fastest Spaniard around
33% - 705 votes
Jenson Button - Any team can benefit from a champion driver
13% - 278 votes
Vote