A New Traffic Violation Management System: AARTO Act
A new traffic violation management system, known as the AARTO Act, is set to be implemented within the next two years. This system aims to penalize drivers and motor vehicle operators through a demerit points system. The goal is to change the behavior of South Africa’s road users and reduce the number of annual road fatalities, which currently stands at over 12,000.
Government Welcomes Constitutional Court’s Decision
The AARTO Act has received confirmation of its legality and validity from the Constitutional Court. The court dismissed a challenge brought by the civil action group OUTA, which argued that the legislation infringed upon the powers of local and provincial governments. The government has welcomed this decision, stating that the AARTO Act is essential in addressing the high number of road accidents in the country.
How the Demerit System Works
Under the AARTO Act, drivers and vehicle operators will be allocated demerit points based on the severity of their traffic infringements. If an individual exceeds the maximum of 15 points, their driving license may be suspended or canceled for a period of three months for each point exceeding the limit. The demerit points and corresponding penalties are outlined in a government gazette.
Clarity on Function
The Constitutional Court’s judgement provides clarity on the concurrent function between national and provincial spheres, ensuring that the AARTO Act does not displace existing laws but rather encourages compliance with them.
AARTO National Rollout
The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) is currently reviewing its AARTO Master Implementation Plan to determine how the system will be rolled out nationwide. Implementation is expected to follow a phased-in approach, with full implementation projected for July 2024. The RTIA is confident in the success of the rollout, as they have already established the necessary infrastructure and prepared for the Points Demerit System and Rehabilitation Program.
Encouraging Compliance and Road Safety
The AARTO Act aims to encourage compliance with road traffic laws and ultimately reduce traffic violations, road crashes, injuries, and fatalities. The RTIA offers various options for motorists to manage and resolve AARTO fines, including discounts, nominations of drivers, representations to dispute infringements, and installment payment plans.