South Africans are once again speculating about the future of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act following news that its second phase has been delayed.
However advanced driving specialist MasterDrive says motorists should not perceive these delays as the end of Aarto.
The delay should be seen as a ‘grace period’ that can be used to prepare for its implementation, says MasterDrive CEO Eugene Herbert.
“Each time there is a delay, there is an immediate assumption it will never come into effect. Drivers relax about changing their bad habits and organisations push preparation aside until it becomes topical again.
“Discussions with those extensively involved in Aarto reveal that important adjustments were made to the Act to address many of the concerns raised previously. This indicates work is actively continuing in refining the legislation and is very unlikely to be scrapped. It is more probable it’s a necessity to iron out further challenges.”
In fact adjustments to the Act could be seen as a positive sign the RTIA is responding to concerns around the Act, Herbert added.
“Information on the latest changes suggest certain aspects, such as the heavy administrative burden on organisations, will be significantly reduced.”
Implemented properly, demerit systems are an effective tool to improve road safety, MasterDrive said, and organisations should continue focusing on providing drivers with the skills to improve driving while preparing for the eventual implementation.
However the Automobile Association remains concerned that AARTO will not deliver on its intended aim of improving road safety and reducing carnage. The association feels that the legislation is geared towards revenue collection rather than promoting safer roads.
“Introducing legislation will not solve the country’s road safety crisis. This merely creates an impression of action while noting will change on the ground, where it is needed. As part of our contention, we point to the fact that there is no evidence that the AARTO pilot project saved a single life,” the AA said.
AARTO was declared constitutional and valid by the Constitutional Court in July 2023 following a successful challenge in late 2022 by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), which argued that the legislation stripped local and provincial governments of their right to self regulation.