No KZN date for driver demerit system roll out

There is still uncertainty about when the the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act, 1998, (Aarto) will be rolled out in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ballito’s assistant director of traffic, Johnny Moodley said while Gauteng may be preparing for the new system in April this year, nothing has been confirmed in KZN.

“As far as I know there are still hiccups to resolve. There is still training to do and we need the stationary,” he said.

“However, Durban traffic has adopted one aspect of Aarto, reducing fines to 50 percent if paid on time.

“I will be introducing this to Ballito as well.”

Moodley said the Aarto system’s advantage is that the demerit system will encourage motorists to be more cautious as repeat offenders can have their licences suspended.

‘But the disadvantage will be enforcement in rural areas. When a fine is not paid, even after a court case, the Road Traffic Infringement Agency has a warrant to attach goods. This will hurt the lower income groups who don’t have much anyway.”


Also read: Everything you need to know about speeding fines


Some Aarto aspects summarised:


What is Aarto?

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act, 1998, (Aarto) is a new system that deals with offenders who break the rules of the road by allocating demerit points.

The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) will be responsible for the administration of Aarto.

Demerit points will be allocated to both drivers and vehicles and everyone begins with zero points.

Aarto classifies traffic violations as infringements and offences.

It has a uniform penalty system for traffic infringements and traffic offenders must follow an administrative process to deal with their traffic infringements.


What is a demerit point?

A demerit point is incurred by the driver who commits an infringement or an offence.


How is a demerit point awarded?

Every driver starts with 0 points and the maximum permissible number of points is 12. Demerit points are recorded against an infringer when: a fine is paid, you apply to pay in installments, you are convicted in a court, and when an enforcement order is issued.


An infringement

An infringement is a minor offence such as failing to wear a seat belt.

An infringement document must be served on an infringer personally or sent by registered mail.


An offence

When a driver has committed an offence, there is no fine. However, the driver must appear before a magistrate. An example is driving a vehicle without number plates.


An infringement notice

If you receive an infringement notice and pay your fine within 32 days, you will get a 50 percent discount and two demerit points are allocated.

If you apply to pay in installments, three demerit points will be allocated.


Submit a representation

You can submit a representation if you admit to the infringement but give a valid reason to show it was beyond your control or explain your circumstances which makes it difficult for you to pay the penalty.


When to nominate a driver

You nominate a driver if you are not the driver of the vehicle at the time the infringement is committed, even if the vehicle is registered in your name.


When to choose to be tried in court

You choose to be tried in court if you feel the traffic officer was unfair in issuing the infringement notice to you. You can also elect to be tried in court if you dispute the accuracy of the equipment used to issue the infringement, for example a speed camera.


A driver’s licence has been suspended

The driver`s licence will be suspended for three months for every demerit point exceeding 12 points.


A licence is cancelled

A licence will be cancelled if it has been suspended for the third time.


If you do not pay your fine

If a fine is not paid within 32 days, the infringer will pay the full penalty amount and forfeit the discount. A courtesy letter will be sent by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) as a reminder that the infringer has not responded or used the options available to him/her. The courtesy letter has an administration fee of R60 which means that in addition to the full penalty amount, the infringer will pay an extra R60.


If you ignore the courtesy letter

If an infringer ignores the courtesy letter for another 32 days, the Registrar will authorise an Enforcement Order. The Enforcement Order means the infringer may be blocked from performing all transactions on the e-NaTIS such as renewing his/her driving licence and vehicle licence. This means that the infringer will not be able to do the following: renew his/her driving licence when it expires, renew his/her vehicle’s licence disc when it expires or renew his/her professional driving licence when it expires.


If you ignore the enforcement order 

If an infringer does not react to the Enforcement Order for another 32 days, a warrant of execution will be authorised by the Registrar. The warrant will not mean  the infringer will be arrested by traffic officers if stopped on the road or at a roadblock. The warrant authorises that the Road Traffic Infringement Agency to get the Sheriffs to seize the infringer`s movable goods and sell them to pay for all the costs. You may also be listed with the credit bureau.


When caught driving under the influence of aclcohol

If a driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol or another drug, he/she will be dealt with in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, of 1977. This means the driver will be arrested, taken to the police station, charged and have his/her blood drawn to gauge the blood/alcohol level.




Michelle Dennis

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