Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has gazetted the new administrative adjudication of road traffic offences (AARTO) regulations which include a new points-based demerit system.
According to the Department of Transport, the regulations will have a huge impact on the economy and the social wellbeing of road users.
It is, however, necessary to change the behaviour of drivers and create a safer road environment, the department said.
South Africa’s new demerit system will be introduced in three phases to ensure road users are gradually introduced to the implications of the demerit point system.
The Department of Transport said the phasing in of the system will prevent a situation where many vehicles are suspended or where numerous drivers lose their licence.
A summary of the three phases are listed below:
- Phase one will allow for demerit points for speeding, dangerous overtaking, failing to stop at traffic lights, driving without a valid driving licence, and other hazardous driving behaviour.
- Phase two will include offences and infringements of economic significance, like the protection of roads and bridges through overload control and failure to pay licence fees.
- Phase three will add offences like the failure to update addresses and other relevant information and infringements prosecuted by means of cameras and parking-related offences.
How the demerit points system will work
The new demerit point system will add points to a person when they commit a traffic offence and pay the penalty.
The points will work as follows:
- The offender receives a penalty, and in addition to the penalty, they also receive the demerit points allocated to the specific infringement or offence.
- If they exceed 15 points (the maximum) they will be disqualified from driving or using the vehicle for a period of time (three months for every point exceeding 15 points).
- The points for the offences and infringements range between six and one, depending on the severity of the offence.
- The maximum points for a person with a driver’s licence are 15 points, while the maximum for a learner driver is 6 points.
- A person’s driving licence card and the operator card of a motor vehicle must be handed in for the disqualification period.
- Upon a third disqualification, the licences will be cancelled. A person must apply for a new learner’s licence and driving licence once the disqualification period is over.
- The time value of each point is three months for disqualification or reduction purposes.
- If demerit points are allocated and no further demerit points are accrued in three months after receiving the previous demerit point, a reduction of one point on the total number of demerit points will be recorded on the system.
Basic demerit system points table
The new regulations include a comprehensive table spanning multiple pages for the new demerit point system.
The table provides a summary of the most prominent offences which will be included in the first phase of the demerit points system.
|Demerit Points and Financial Penalties|
|Offence or infringement||Penalty||Demerit points|
|Traffic signs and speed limits|
|Failed to obey stop sign||R1,500||2|
|Failed to obey directions at a four-way stop sign||R1,500||2|
|Failed to obey yield sign||R1,000||1|
|Failed to comply with directions of a road traffic sign by not maintaining or exceeding the specified speed limit||R1,000||1|
|Failed to comply with directions of a road traffic sign by not passing on the left-hand side||R500||1|
|Failure to comply and licences|
|Failure to stop vehicle on the command of a traffic officer||—||6|
|Driving a vehicle with a learner’s licence with no licensed driver in the car||R3,500||5|
|Failure to comply with the direction of a police officer who is directing traffic||R2,000||3|
|Operated a vehicle on a public road with expired licence||R2,000||3|
|Operated a vehicle on a public road without a licence||R2,000||3|
|Roadworthiness and lights|
|Removed or altered components of vehicle affecting its roadworthiness||R3,500||5|
|Operated a vehicle with a brake that is not in good working order||R3,500||5|
|Operated a vehicle between sunset or sunrise or during unfavourable visibility conditions without lamps (lights)||R1,500||2|
|Operated a vehicle with a damaged lamp (light)||R1,000||1|
|Stop lamp (light) not emitting a red light when in use||R1,000||1|
|Driver did not ensure that all passengers were wearing seatbelts||R1,500||1|
|Vehicle not fitted with seatbelts correctly||R1,000||1|
|Seatbelts not working properly||R500||1|
Full demerit system points table
The PDF embedded below provides the full demerit system points table.
Comments on the new demerit system
Howard Dembvosky, founder and chairperson of Justice Project South Africa, shared his views on the new demerit system.