New speeding fines and demerit points for South Africa explained

The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) has released a new document to prepare motorists for the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) process which will be implemented throughout South Africa on 1 July 2021.

Aarto is legislation aimed at improving driver behaviour, encouraging motorists to be law-abiding, and reducing road accidents.

Because it functions outside the criminal justice system, Aarto should alleviate the burden on courts which try offenders for traffic infringements.

It also introduces a new system which penalises drivers and operators who are guilty of infringements or offences through the imposition of demerit points.

These demerit points can lead to the suspension and cancellation of driving licences, professional driving permits, or operator cards. Here is how it works.

Every motorist starts with 0 points and the maximum permissible number of points allocated is 15.

In other words, a person is allowed to drive until they have 15 points accumulated from contraventions committed.

Every point in excess of 15 points results in a three-month suspension of the licence.

One point is removed every three months if no further contraventions are incurred within a three-month period.

A person who incurs demerit points resulting in a disqualification to drive for a third time will lose their licence permanently.

What happens when you get a fine

A person who receives a traffic fine must choose one of the following options within 32 days:

  • Pay the fine within 32 days of receipt of the notice and receive an automatic 50% discount on the fine amount.
  • If the infringement notice issued is being disputed, the alleged infringer is allowed to make a representation. RTIA will adjudicate on the merits and if successful, the issued infringement notice will be cancelled.
  • Upon receipt of an infringement notice via registered mail, the alleged infringer is also allowed to make an arrangement with RTIA for paying their fine in instalments for fines of R750 or more over a period of six months.
  • Elect to be tried in court.
  • If they were not the designated driver of the vehicle at the time the traffic violation was committed, nominate a driver.

If the infringement notice is not attended to within 32 days, RTIA will send a courtesy letter to remind the alleged infringer about the outstanding fines.

This letter carries a R60 penalty fee and the infringer would have lost the discount at this stage.

If there is no action within 64 days, an enforcement order will be issued and served by registered mail or physically hand-delivered.

The demerit points – if applicable – will be automatically allocated.

The enforcement order served on you will require payment of the penalty in full, plus representation fees and the fee of the courtesy letter.

The image below provides an overview of the Aarto process.

Aarto process

Understanding the point demerit system

The table below provides an overview of the infringements, penalty amounts, and demerit points.

Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) summary

The document embedded below provides an overview of the new Aarto system.

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New speeding fines and demerit points for South Africa explained