TROUBLE FOR MOTORISTS: Ignoring fines won't be possible when the points demerit system is implemented locally. Image: Arrive Alive
Johannesburg - The South African driver Demerit System has taken years to be implemented, yet the Department of Transport system said back in 2015 that it could be given the greenlight early in 2016.
As of April 2016, the system has yet to be implemented. It shouldn't surprise South African motorists as it first appeared 18 years ago!
Wheels24 contacted the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offenders (AARTO) and was told that while the system will be implemented, the organisation has yet to confirm a date.
Long road ahead
It was initially signed into law in September 1998 as part of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, Act 46 of 1998.
This system, based on those used in Australia and the United Kingdom, has been adapted to meet local needs, according to Arrive Alive.
READ: 8 things you should know when dealing with roadblocks in SA
Why the delay?
The proposed system has been delayed for several years pending, amongst other reasons, a feasibility study and an assessment of technological requirements, law enforcement criteria and an analysis of human resources needed to ensure the successful implementation of the system.
It could lead to repeat road offenders having their driving licences suspended or even cancelled, reports Arrive Alive.
Which department will run the Demerit System?
The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) system will be implemented and managed by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).
How will the Demerit System work?
• Each driver will start out with zero points (irrespective of the number of classes of vehicle licences held)
• Points are allocated according to infringements or offences committed (there are different values for different infringements and offences)
• Points are incurred (allocated) on the date a penalty (fine) is paid or when the person is convicted of the offence (as the case may be)
• Operators receive points separately from their drivers (ie a transport company receives points allocated to the operators permit)
• When you reach 13 points and more, the licence (and / or operator card) is suspended with effect from 32 days after the maximum points (12) have been reached
• The suspension period is calculated in months equal to the number of points exceeding 12, multiplied by three (or such number as may be prescribed by the Minister of Transport)
• The number of points (demerits) added will depend on the severity of the offence
• The driver / operator may apply for the return of the licence on expiry of the suspension (disqualification) period
• A driver / operator who is disqualified for the third time will permanently loose the licence / operator card and will have to reapply for testing and issue (as if a first time licence / operator applicant) after expiry of the disqualification period
• Demerit points will be reduced (for all persons / operators) at a flat rate of one point per every three months (or as otherwise prescribed), except in the case where evidence points to the fact that the process has been deliberately delayed to obtain a reduction in points.
READ: How to fight traffic fines in SA: ALL you need to know
SA Demerit System: All you need to know
Click here to download the full Demerit System PDF
READ: Distracted driving in SA: 7 worst in-car distractions
Many motorists are not convinced the demerit system will be effective in SA.
We asked users to share their thoughts on the new SA road user Demerit System and a homepage vote garnered more than 21 000 votes.
The new SA road user Demerit System is:
A great way to curb SA road deaths - 439 votes
A good way to change bad road behaviour - 2036 votes
Another way of draining tax payers - 3224 votes
A waste of time. Won't change SA road behaviour - 4583 votes
Pointless. Too many corrupt traffic officials - 11673 votes
'A waste of time'
Unsurprisingly, only 439 users (2%) believe, if implemented, the demerit system would curb road deaths. The News24 poll revealed that 2036 users (9%) believe the system will change bad road behaviour and 3224 users (15%) think it's another income-generating scheme by the government.
About 21% of respondents (4538 votes) said the system is 'a waste of time' while the majority (11 673 or 53%) think it's completely pointless as there are 'too many corrupt traffic officials' to make system viable in SA.