Demerit System, AARTO and Driver Behaviour

Demerit System for Traffic Offences & Road Safety

Historical Background

The Demerit System was 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 similar systems in Australia, and the United Kingdom, has been adapted to meet local needs.

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.

Objectives with Demerit System

The Objectives with the Demerit System can be found in the preamble to the Act:

  • to promote road traffic quality by providing for a scheme to discourage road traffic contraventions
  • to facilitate the adjudication of road traffic infringements
  • to support the prosecution of offences in terms of the national and provincial laws relating to road traffic, and implement a points demerit system
  • to provide for the establishment of an agency to administer the scheme
  • to provide for the establishment of a board to represent the agency
  • and to provide for matters connected therewith.

Other Objectives and Benefits of the Demerit System could include

  • Removing routine traffic offences from overcrowded court roles
  • Enabling drivers and traffic officers to verify offences via information stored in the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS) system
  • Encouraging better driver behavior and taking reckless, illegal or fraudulent drivers off South Africa's roads

How will the Points Demerit System work?

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) system will be implemented and managed by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA). 

Know your Point Demerit System

The RTIA has made the payment for AARTO ?nes easy and convenient and it can be done using the following options

The AARTO Act determines the manner in which the demerit points (points) and penalty amounts (fines payable) are to be administered. The demerit points will only become applicable once AARTO is rolled out nationally.

The Points Demerit system can be explained as follows:

  • 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.

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Also View:

AARTO and Road Safety: What is AARTO and how will it make Roads Safer?