DURBAN - PLANS are afoot for the roll-out of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act system which is expected to come into effect on July 1.
According to the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), the adjudication and traffic fines collections agency, the act would allow for the introduction of the demerit system.
The Aarto Act and the demerit system have been on the cards for more than a decade without implementation.
However, the authorities have said that the system is close to fruition.
The Aarto regulations was gazetted by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula in October last year.
RTIA spokesperson Monde Mkalipi told The Mercury that more than 14 000 people died on the roads every year and therefore the demerit system aimed to ensure road users made better decisions.
He said that Aarto was designed to change the behaviour of road users and reduce fatalities.
“The Aarto Act, therefore, seeks to promote road traffic quality by providing for a scheme to discourage contraventions, and to facilitate the adjudication of infringements.
“It also seeks to support the prosecution of offences in terms of the national and provincial laws relating to road traffic, and will see the implementation of a points demerit system,” said Mkalipi.
According to the draft, every driver would start at zero demerit points on their driving licence.
If 12 demerits points are accumulated, the driving licence would be suspended for three months.
The driving licence may be suspended twice and cancelled thereafter.
Mkalipi said that through the Aarto national steering committee, the RTIA had conducted a state of readiness campaign across the country.
He said that the details for each province would also be shared with the public in due course.
Mbalula said the department had allocated more than R500 million for the Aarto roll-out.
He said this during the presentation of his department’s budget vote in Parliament on May 21.
According to Mbalula, over the medium term, the department had allocated R545m to RTIA to fund the roll-out.
He said R215m had been allocated for the current financial year.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said the province was ready to implement the new system.
He said the province had been gearing up for the roll-out and many of its traffic officers had already undergone training.
According to Ncalane, district workshops have already begun in Newcastle, Ladysmith and Pietermaritzburg, and the next one would be in Durban.
Through these workshops, the department was also integrating the SAPS, metro police and traffic police to ensure that everyone was on the same page.
“Working with RTIA, we are also embarking on roadshows and awareness campaigns.
“We are ready and can’t wait to have it implemented fully,” said Ncalane.
“The issue of traffic violations is a matter of life and death. If one commits a mistake, scores of people might lose their lives.
“Any intervention that will result in punitive actions against drivers who disregard the rules of the road, is welcomed,” he said.
Ncalane said the exciting part was that companies would be on board to monitor their drivers.
The Road Safety Partnership (RSP) endorsed the intent of Aarto to improve driving behaviour and thus positively impact on road safety.
“The RSP urges drivers to start preparation as soon as possible. This includes familiarising themselves with the act, identifying the behaviours that are repeatedly penalised or which they know they are guilty of and determining what their company’s planned Aarto policy will be.”