New traffic laws for SA: Are you Aarto ready?

Image: Arrive Alive
Image: Arrive Alive

Johannesburg - Recent talk is suggesting the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO), or as it is more commonly known, the point demerit system, could be fully implemented in 2018, says MasterDrive.

The Aarto amendment bill faced many difficulties since it was first tabled in parliament in 1998 and many motorists dismissed the possibility of its full implementation.

This may soon change as the bill passed in the National Assembly on September 5.

7 top Aarto questions answered

Transport Minister Maswanganyi welcomes Aarto

How will this affect motorists?
MasterDrive managing director, Eugene Herbert, says drivers should brush up on their driving skills: "The system is not merely meant to punish law breakers but change driver behaviour all together. South Africa has a culture of drivers who push the boundaries. Punishments are not severe enough to create any real fear of the consequences. Now drivers need to break these habits and place more importance on safe and responsible driving."

How will the demerit system work? 

Each person starts with a 0 point balance. Every time you are caught committing a traffic offence points are added according to the offence’s seriousness. Once you have 13 points your license is suspended for three months. For every three offence-free months, one point is deducted from your balance. If your license is suspended three times, it can be cancelled.

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

Where does this leave businesses?

AARTO can have serious ramifications on businesses, especially those involved in logistics and commercial transport.

Herbert said: "Harsher consequences for traffic offences mean harsher consequences for your business. If a driver is suspended they cannot drive for you anymore leaving you to source and train new drivers. Additionally, if the driver accumulates points in their private capacity it will affect your business operations as well.

"Business owners need to also be aware that the owner of the vehicle is held responsible for demerits unless you notify RTIA that someone else was driving. This also creates a larger administrative burden and requires changes to employment contracts."
How can business owners prepare?

Businesses, particularly, should be preparing for it before implementation. "A substantial amount of administration requirements need to be in place before implementation to protect your fleets. It’s for this reason that MasterDrive launched its latest programme (with updated legislation) to specifically deal with AARTO. It helps every fleet owner/manager understand what the pending legislation means for them," says Herbert.

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