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Aarto Bill gets the green light

11 September 2017

The National Assembly recently approved the highly anticipated Aarto Bill, which will see the introduction of the demerit system to curb reckless driving.

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Amendment Bill was tabled as a direct result of the untenable and unsustainable road safety challenge in South Africa, according to the Department of Transport.

Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, welcomed the passing of the bill and said that it will guarantee South Africa’s implementation of the National Road Safety Strategy and the achievement of the targets as set out in United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety.

In 2014, there were 10 364 crashes that caused 12 702 fatalities, in 2015, there were 10 613 crashes that caused 12 994 fatalities; and in 2016, there were 11 676 crashes that caused 14 071 fatalities.

“South Africa has been experiencing tremendous loss of lives, especially of young people, as well as the continued disregard of road traffic laws,” said Minister Maswanganyi.

“So as a country, we need to act with resolve and turnaround this unfortunate situation. We must act with conviction and take responsibility for our situation,” he continued.

Changing driver behaviour

According to the minister the demerit system will be implanted alongside the Aarto Bill as an easy and objective mechanism of identifying habitual infringers so that the applicable penalties can be imposed.

“Those that continue to break the laws will find themselves ultimately losing their driving licences through suspensions and cancellations.”

The Minister said that Aarto not only provides for a punitive measure but provides rehabilitation for drivers who may have lost their licenses.

“Drivers can redeem themselves through the rehabilitation programmes. In this way, we can influence those drivers to change their behaviour to easy compliance with road traffic laws,” said Maswanganyi.

The bill will also make dealing with infringements easier as they will be dealt with by the Appeals Tribunal and eliminating the backlog of working through the courts.


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