AARTO – more time to prepare

Fleet managers and motorists have almost a year to prepare for the implementation of the points demerit system and driver rehabilitation programmes of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act.

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This follows Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula recently confirming that the points demerit system will only come online in the fourth phase of the national roll-out of AARTO from July 1, 2022.

The fourth phase also involves the introduction of the rehabilitation programme and the establishment of 20 AARTO self-service kiosks.

“By the time we reach this milestone, our road users will have no excuses for not understanding the implications and consequences of the AARTO process,” he says.

Mbalula added that Schedule 3 of the AARTO Regulations will provide a comprehensive list of demerit points allocated to every identified offence. The threshold level of demerit points is 15 points.

Upon exceeding the threshold mark, a motorist’s driving licence will be suspended for a period of three months for every point that the threshold has been exceeded.

The reduction is one point for every three months that a motorist remains violation-free.

Mbalula added that the introduction of driver rehabilitation programmes for habitual infringers will allow infringers, who have had their licences cancelled, to attend rehabilitation programmes before being allowed back into the driving fold.

“This shows that AARTO is not just about punishment, but that it is intended to ensure compliance and change of road-user behaviour,” he says.

Mbalula says AARTO is an objective and fair system to identify reckless drivers and law breakers, so that they can be removed from the driving fold.

Common penalties are similarly being introduced for all traffic violations throughout the country and will carry the same penal values while electronic service will begin in earnest, which means that law enforcement can be effectively supported by technology, servicing documents by electronic means, such as e-mail, he says.

The SA Post Office will be responsible for serving of all notices in line with the requirement of the AARTO Act.

The implementation of the first phase of AARTO’s national roll-out plan commenced on July 1 and will continue until September 20 this year.

It involves the establishment of seven service outlets; enabling the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS) to collect AARTO payments at collecting agents; allowing elective options to be processed in infringement agencies and service outlets; and communication and education awareness campaigns.

The second phase is scheduled to commence on October 1, 2021 and will continue until December 31.

In this phase, 67 Local and metropolitan municipal areas proclaimed for the AARTO roll-out will come online; more than 18 service outlets will become operational; the adjudication process will come online in all provinces; and the Appeals Tribunal will come into full operation.

The third phase, from January 1, 2022 until June 30, 2022, involves the inclusion of the 144 remaining local municipal areas proclaimed for the AARTO roll-out.

Mbalula says AARTO is being introduced to save lives and if motorists are compliant with all road traffic laws, they have nothing to worry about.

“We have made a commitment to arrest the carnage on our roads, and we are committed to re-imagine our approach to road safety and making sure our people arrive alive when using our roads,” he says.

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