How these six new traffic laws will affect you

With the rise in South Africa’s road fatalities, the Automobile Association (AA) released new data on South African road fatalities for 2016 that showed a significant jump since 2015. The statistics revealed that 2016 had the highest number of road fatalities in the past 10 years.

According to the AA, over 14,071 people died on South African roads in 2016 – a significant jump from 12,944 fatalities recorded in 2015. This is an alarming 9% increase, with more than 1,120 road fatalities occurring, year-on-year.

“These figures are alarming, and should worry every motorist in the country. These numbers seem to indicate that awareness campaigns and education initiatives are not working well enough, driver attitudes are getting worse, and that law enforcement is not making the impact it should,” said the AA.

Since the release of these alarming statistics and in an attempt to stop the carnage on South African roads, details of South Africa’s tough new road measures were revealed earlier this month. The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) amendment bill was passed in the National Assembly on Tuesday, 5th September 2017 and will now head to the National Council of Provinces for adoption, after which it needs to be signed into law by the President. The new bill aims to remove dangerous drivers from the roads by suspending or confiscating their license if traffic laws are not obeyed.

The aim is to have the new system in place by 31st March 2018.

How these six new traffic laws will affect you

How will this new system affect you, the motorist?
  1. The Demerit System
Each motorist will start with zero points and receive a certain amount of demerit points for each traffic violation committed. If you exceed 12 points, you license will be suspended for a three-month period. If your license is suspended three times, your license will be cancelled.
  1. Centralisation of infringement information and online service for documentation
Through the creation of a National Road Traffic Offences Register, infringements and offences will be recorded electronically, making it easier for all road users to be informed of the status of their infringements.
  1. Special appeals tribunal
Legitimate grievances of motorists will be heard by this tribunal who will be responsible for adjudicating, hearing appeals and making judgements. If the motorist is not happy with the outcome however, he/she may still appeal the tribunal’s decision in the High Court.
  1. The registered vehicle owner is always liable for fines
The only time this will not apply is when the vehicle owner has granted authorisation for another person to drive the vehicle, and can provide specific details of that person.
  1. Removal of certain traffic law punishments
With the complete removal of Section 21 of the Act, the following will no longer be allowed:
  • Confiscation of non-compliant infringer’s driver’s license
  • Removing the license disc from motorist’s vehicle
  • Immobilising the motorist’s vehicle
  1. Rehabilitating offenders 
This provides an opportunity to positively influence drivers whose licenses have been suspended or cancelled and to re-educate them on the importance of complying with traffic laws.