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Johannesburg - The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) amendment bill has moved a step closer to being signed into law.
The bill passed in the National Assembly on Tuesday (September 5). In 2014, there were 10 364 crashes in SA that caused 12 702 fatalities, in 2015 there were 10 613 crashes (12 994 deaths) and in 2016 there were 11 676 crashes (14 071 deaths).
The amendments pay the way for the adoption of a driver points demerit system.
Why implement these amendments?
The Transport Department says the Aarto act seeks to achieve the following:
• to promote road traffic quality by providing for a scheme to discourage road traffic contraventions
• to facilitate the adjudication of road traffic infringements
• to support the prosecution of offences in terms of the national and provincial laws relating to road traffic
• to implement a points demerit system
• to provide for the establishment of an agency to administer the scheme.
'Unsustainable road safety challenge'
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".
The department adds: "The Bill guarantees South Africa’s implementation of the National Road Safety Strategy and the achievement of the targets as set out in United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety."
Maswanganyi said: "South Africa has been experiencing tremendous loss of lives, especially of young people, as well as the continued disregard of road traffic laws."
"So as a country, we need to act with resolve and turnaround this unfortunate situation. We must act with conviction and take responsibility for our situation."
Driver demerit system
Maswanganyi said: "The demerit point system will provide for an easy and objective mechanism of identifying habitual infringers so that the applicable penalties can be imposed.
"Those that continue to break the laws will find themselves ultimately losing their driving licences through suspensions and cancellations of their drivers licenses. We must remember that a driving licence always belongs to the government and everyone that wants to exercise this benefit, must comply with the conditions related there."
What do you think of the AARTO Amendment Bill? Will the demerit system curb SA's horrendous road death toll? Email us
Rehabilitation for offenders
Maswanganyi said Aarto also provides for rehabilitation of drivers that have had their driving licences suspended or removed.
"In this way, we can influence those drivers to change their behaviour to easy compliance with road traffic laws," said Maswanganyi.
Maswanganyi said that the amendment bill also makes dealing with infringements "very easy and quick" through a new Appeals Tribunal.
The Tribunal, says the department, will eliminate the "backlog and burden of dealing with infringements through the courts. This will eliminate the burden and bottle-necks from the Criminal justice system."
Online service for documentation
Maswanganyi said: “The Act makes provision for the electronic service of documents, which will make it easier for all road users to be informed of the status of their infringers. The electronic service of documents will further have low cost benefits to the State and the road user."
Check out the infogrophic below: Info by Law For All