The National Assembly has passed new South African traffic laws as was amended by the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO)
The new traffic laws, as passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday, were meant to address the daring rise of road traffic offenders across the country.
According to the head of Justice Project South Africa (JPSA), Howard Demobovsky, the new traffic laws brings with it some “threatening provisions with serious implications for holders of driving licenses and/or owners of motor vehicles”.
The act will pave the way for the implementation of the points-demerit system which will leave motorists virtually powerless to defend themselves against traffic authorities who have been charged to make driving traffic fine revenues.
— Justice Project SA (@JPSAorg) September 5, 2017
Among the amendments made to the traffic laws include:
- The complete removal of the courts from the AARTO process and replacing them with a compulsion to make written representations to the Road Traffic Infringement Authority (formerly Agency) which is a State Owned Enterprise,
- The authority will now be funded almost entirely by traffic fine revenues (95.47% of its 2015/16 annual revenue) and to appeal adverse decisions by the RTIA’s representations officers to a newly created tribunal,” Dembovsky said.
- Applications for appeal or review made to that tribunal must be made within 30 days of the adverse decision and must be accompanied by the payment of a fee yet to be prescribed by the minister of transport,
- Failure to exercise any of the so-called ‘elective options’ within the prescribed timeframe will speedily lead to the issue of an enforcement order which will block the issuing of a driving licence or vehicle licence disc, along with the imposition of demerit-points.
- Demerit-points will now be applied against the driving licenses those who are registered owners of motor vehicles – not necessarily those driving the vehicles
- Drivers who commit such infringements will be able to evade the points-demerit system, by simply driving vehicles registered to juristic entities.
Explaining the new traffic laws further, Dembovsky said while it is clear that delinquent drivers must be taken to task for their transgressions and suspending the driving licenses of habitual offenders may assist in that regard, this ‘end justifies the means’ approach is clearly not the way to go.
“The more the AARTO Act is tampered with, the more it focusses the disposal of what appear to be ‘bothersome provisions’ of law which stand in the way of the revenue generation process and the less it focusses on road safety.”
“This travesty simply cannot go unchallenged,” he said.
Following the passing of the new Traffic laws by the National Assembly, the amendments will now head to the National Council of Provinces for adoption, after which it will be signed into law by the President.