- South Africa's new national demerit system for driving offences will be rolled out in phases starting on 1 July.
- All motorists will start with zero points and receive demerits for approximately 1,000 violations.
- These points will be attributed to the motorist's license and when the demerits exceed 15, the license will be suspended for three months.
- Demerit points range from one to six depending on the seriousness of the offence.
- Exceeding 161 km/h on the highway, fleeing the scene of an accident, driving while drunk, and failing to stop for a traffic officer are just some of the six-point offences.
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South African motorists who commit traffic offences will soon receive demerit points which can lead to their licenses being suspended and, ultimately, cancelled.
The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, which has proposed a demerit system for road infringements since 2008, will come into effect on 1 July. The Act has faced multiple challenges in recent years, with the latest legal fight from the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) aimed at declaring the legislation unconstitutional.
The Act's opponents argue that the new regulations will do little to curb the carnage on South Africa's roads and, instead, infringe the rights of motorists and existing municipal bylaws.
Two suspensions will result in the license being cancelled. One point will be reduced for every three months that a motorist does not record any infringements.
The Act is due to be rolled out in five phases, according to the director-general of transport Alec Moemi, who presented the department's annual performance plan to parliament on 19 May. The first phase, starting on 1 July, "entails setting up the registry" which will manage the demerit system through the National Traffic Information System (eNatis).
Infringements and offences are contained within Schedule 3 of the AARTO regulations. Demerit points are attached to approximately 1,000 offences, while standalone fines and compulsory court appearances apply to a further 1,600 infringements.
Demerit points – ranging from one to six – are based on the seriousness of specific offences. Infringements such as failing to proceed when a traffic light is green or operating a vehicle which isn't fitted with a rear-view mirror are considered minor offences and will earn motorists one demerit point each.
Failing to stop behind the line at a stop street is worth two demerit points. Driving with an expired license carries three demerit points. Driving at 150 km/h on the highway is a four-point offence. Doing 160 km/h will get drivers five demerit points. All demerit points also come with a fine, with a monetary value generally linked to the level of offence.
There are 100 serious offences listed within Schedule 3 of the AARTO Regulations which carry six demerit points and mandatory court appearances. Some examples of the most serious six-point offences, which do not come with the option to pay an admission of guilt fine but, instead, require the motorist to appear in court, include:
- Failure to stop a vehicle on command of a traffic officer.
- Operating a vehicle contrary to the class of vehicle to which such driving licence relates.
- Driving 91-92 km/h in a 60 km/h zone, 161+ km/h in a 120km/h zone, 110+ km/h in an 80 km/h zone, and 70+ km/h in a 40 km/h zone.
- Operating a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug with a narcotic effect.
- Failure to ascertain if someone was killed or injured or the extent of injuries at the scene of an accident in which he or she was involved.
- Riding in or driving a vehicle without the consent of the owner, operator, or person in lawful charge thereof.
- Using or making a number plate which did not comply with the prescribed specifications.
- Falsifying or counterfeiting a certificate, licence or other document issued or recognised in terms the Act.
All six-point offences carry a No Admission of guilt Penalty (NAP). Offences which carry five demerit points also come with fines ranging from R1,500 to R3,500.
Business Insider SA Jun 14, 2021, 06:24 AM