AARTO insights: How to manage your life (and licence) on the road in 2021
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DURBAN - South African road accidents and deaths cost the country in excess of R168 billion according to the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula. Road traffic accidents are also the leading cause of death of young people aged between 5 and 29 years.
Yet, despite a reduction in fatalities over the 2019 festive season period, we are nowhere close to achieving our goal, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals and echoed in the National Development Plan (NDP), of halving the deaths caused by accidents on our roads by 2020.
Major safety concerns
“South African road safety statistics remain amongst the worst in the world which has necessitated the development of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences, or AARTO system, as it is known,” says road traffic and transport legislation consultant, Alta Swanepoel. “The goal of AARTO is to ensure that traffic offenders and infringers are held accountable and penalised for their non-compliance with the road rules.”
Due for launch nationally on 01 July 2021, according to Minister Mbalula, failure to adhere to AARTO rules could result in driving licence and vehicle suspensions. As such it is vital that anyone who drives a vehicle on a public road knows what the Act is about and how it will affect them.
Understand your rights
Swanepoel, who was also part of the team to draft the AARTO Regulations and Schedules, and is the editor of Road Traffic & Road Transport Legislation Service, has developed an online training course to assist company representatives and individuals understand the impact of the legislation.
The self-paced AARTO Act and draft AARTO Regulations course, offered in partnership with LexisNexis, consists of three modules covering the purpose of the legislation, administrative procedures, demerit points, discounts, forms, and a list of all the offences and infringements impacted by the legislation.
It also includes a comprehensive manual with the AARTO Act and Draft Regulations as they will apply, as well as general notes on the impact of the legislation on company proxies, drivers, operators etc, providing expert, user-friendly advice to employers, senior executives, management staff and employees in complying with the legislation. The course costs R2950 per delegate with a 5% discount offered for 5 - 9 delegate group bookings or 10% discount for 10 or more delegate groups.
The AARTO Draft Regulations were published for comment on 02 October 2020 following the signing of the AARTO Amendment Act, 2019 by the President in August last year.
While serious road traffic offences will still be prosecuted in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (CPA), AARTO will be implemented to replace the system used for the issuing of traffic fines and brings with it improved fine collection procedures, more convenient ways of paying fines and penalties for non-compliance. Road users, business owners, fleet managers and compliance officers need to have a clear understanding of the terms, conditions and penalties involved in AARTO, including the demerit system, an integral and vital part of the legislation.