SOLID-LINE CUTTERS: Wheels24 user Amavel Moreira sent in this image of impatient road users. Image: Amavel Moreira
Cape Town - Those found guilty of breaking road rules by a court of law will have to complete a mandatory rehabilitation programme under the new proposed demerit system, Parliament has heard.
The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill will establish rehabilitation centres around the country for such offenders, the portfolio committee on transport heard on Thursday (March 23).
If a driver or taxi operator is arrested and found guilty of a road offence, they must attend a programme at a rehabilitation centre as part of their sentence, Peter Baloyi of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency said.
"Once they have completed the programme, we then reduce the demerit points by three," Baloyi said.
Court action is still reserved for serious road crimes under existing law.
Under the new bill, for other or minor infringements, road users will have a 12-point demerit threshold before their licences are suspended.
Thereafter, every point gained above the threshold earns the road user a suspension. A licence will be suspended for three months at a time.
READ: Driver demerit system, tracking offenders... Transport Dept speaks on AARTO
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Conversely, if a road user commits no offences in a three-month period, their demerits are reduced by one point.
Drivers who have breached the demerit threshold, but have not been found guilty of a road crime, may voluntarily attend an approved rehabilitation centre in order to reduce their demerit points by three.
Baloyi told reporters after the presentation that the bill was still being debated in Parliament, and therefore was not law yet.
However, the idea of rehabilitation centres would be passed in some form once the bill was signed into law, and the finer details would then be approved.
He said an example of how the demerit system would work could include a driver receiving two to three demerits for exceeding a given speed limit by between 10km/h - 20km/h.
They, therefore, realistically could commit four or five "minor" infringements before having their licence suspended.
Learner drivers could also face rehabilitation for multiple infringements.
A learner driver had a threshold of six demerit points before they would be referred to a rehabilitation centre.
They would still be able to take their driver's tests, but would have to complete the rehabilitation programme before the licence was issued, Baloyi addedHow 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 (i.e 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.
SA Demerit System: All you need to know
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