AARTO system explained

The new traffic rules will kick in from July. Image by cottonbro studio/Pexels

Big changes for SA drivers coming soon

Changes to the rules for SA drivers are planned to be implemented from 1 July 2024. What exactly does this mean?

AARTO system explained

The new traffic rules will kick in from July. Image by cottonbro studio/Pexels

The planned rollout date of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) system is 1 July 2024. What exactly will this entail?

AARTO explained

The aim of the AARTO system is to streamline traffic offences and introduce a demerit points system. It has been in its trial phase for several years in Johannesburg and Tshwane, according to Business Tech.

The main features of the AARTO system include a points demerit system, an appeals process, infringement notices and penalties, and driver rehabilitation.

Points demerit system

The intention of a points demerit system is to discourage motorists from disobeying the law by putting their privilege to drive in jeopardy if they do not follow traffic rules.

Here is how it will operate:

All drivers will start with zero demerit points on their driving licence. When a driver commits an offence in terms of traffic laws, he or she will get points added to their licence, which will add up.

Different infringements and offences will carry different amounts of points. The current guidelines for the allocation of points are published as part of the AARTO regulations. To see these, go to Schedule 3 in the regulations.

Once someone reaches a specific threshold of demerit points, the government may suspend the person’s driver’s licence. The current prescribed threshold is 15 points.

Suspension of driver’s licence

The driver’s licence of anyone who exceeds the points threshold, will be suspended for three months for each demerit point that is above the threshold. During the suspension period of a licence, its holder may not drive at all.

The same will apply to vehicle operator cards. During the suspension period pertaining to a vehicle, no one may drive the vehicle it applies to.

Those who fail to comply with the suspension period, will be guilty of a criminal offence.

Cancellation of driver’s licence

The government can only suspend a driver’s licence or operator card twice. Thereafter, the government will take further steps.

If a driving licence or operator card has already been cancelled twice, and demerit points in excess of the threshold are again incurred, the government will cancel the driving licence or operator card.

In the case of a driving licence, this means the person will have to start with the procedure from scratch, so with a learner’s licence. This can only be started once the ban period has lapsed.

Government and driver rehabilitation

The Department of Transport stated that the introduction of driver rehabilitation programmes for habitual infringers will ensure compliance and hopefully change the behaviour of SA road users. Infringers who have their licences cancelled will have to attend rehabilitation programmes before returning to driving on South Africa’s roads.