Here's how quickly your driving licence could be suspended under the new AARTO Act

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Traffic officer at a roadblock
Traffic officer at a roadblock
Safely Home by Western Cape Government

• AARTO's rollout in South Africa began in July 2021.

• The system aims to curb unlawful behaviour on South African roads.

• Come July 2022, a demerit points system will come into effect.

For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24

With the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act coming into play in July 2021, motorists could be in for a rude awakening when the demerit points system is introduced on 1 July 2022. AARTO will be rolled out in four phases, with the first kicking off at the start of this month. By 1 October 2021, AARTO should be implemented in 67 municipalities, with the rest of South Africa's municipalities adopting the new Act on 1 January 2022.

The Road Safety Partnership South Africa (RSP-SA) warns motorists to be prepared for AARTO. The body says: "Irrespective of how one may feel about AARTO, its implementation will become a reality. The RSP-SA urges motorists that have not yet changed bad driving habits to start doing so soon.

"Many motorists may be surprised at how quickly you can accumulate the 12 points that will result in the three-month suspension of your driving license. If you depend on your vehicle to get to work or even perform your job, you would effectively be removing your own ability to generate an income or face even harsher penalties."

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Police monitor in Durban, South Africa

Here's how you can lose your driver's licence

Accumulating 12 demerit points is really not that difficult a task. Disobeying the 'simplest' of road rules could see you lose your driver's licence in the space of a month. If, for instance, you are caught driving 90km/h in a 60km/h zone, you will be slapped with six demerit points. If you are caught skipping a red traffic light, a further three points are added. Failing to stop behind the line at a stop sign is worth two points, while inconsiderate driving adds one point.

In all, you can have your licence suspended in the blink of an eye.

READ: AARTO's silver lining: 'Threat of losing one's licence can change reckless behaviour'

The RSP-SA concludes: "Irrespective of how you feel about the validity of AARTO, its fairness or potential for corruption, it is time to start taking it seriously. Once the demerit system begins properly in 2022, you will not be able to reverse the demerits you received for breaking a law based on your reluctance to accept the Act.

"Ultimately, you can prevent yourself from landing in this precarious situation by simply becoming a better driver. No driver has anything to fear if they drive within the confines of the law. Not only will you protect yourself from being negatively impacted by the demerit system, but you will do your part in creating safer roads in South Africa."

Traffic officer at a road block
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