The rollout of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offenses (AARTO) is going ahead with 69 Metros scheduled to be phased in from February next year – but there is a sliver of good news for motorists.

During the phase in process demerit points will not be applied until September next year and then, initially, will be for major offences such as drunken driving, reckless or dangerous driving and exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 km/h among them.

Speaking at the SA Bus Operators Association conference, Monde Mkalipi, Senior Manager of Media & Marketing Relations for the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) said: “We are getting ready to mark the start of the phased-in AARTO national rollout – a historic moment in the national road safety management effort and we really want to profile the benefits of AARTO as part of the national road safety effort in creating behavioural change towards zero fatalities.

“It has been running successfully in Tshwane and Johannesburg for some time and we now need to rally the support of close stakeholders to be part of the national rollout and to mobilise the whole country to support the rollout of AARTO and, at the same time exhibit the 100% national state of readiness with electronic connectivity throughout SA.”

The roll-out plan kicks off on February 1 next year for 69 metros and municipal areas including Adjudication Process, Electronic Service and Appeals Tribunal and is followed on July 1 by a further 144 municipal areas including Adjudication Process, Electronic Service and Appeals Tribunal and finally on September 1 when the Points Demerit System and Rehabilitation Programme is scheduled to live.

AARTO has faced strenuous objections from a number of institutions, not the least of which has been the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) to the point the constitutionality of the AARTO regulations was challenged in Court.

On July 12 the Constitutional Court ruled AARTO was constitutional, giving the go-ahead for the programme to continue even though the fact its entire operational tenet is the alleged offender is guilty until they prove themselves innocent flies in the fact of the basic constitutional human right of being presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Road users will start off with zero points and any offences committed will attract demerit points in varying volumes depending on the offence. Once the maximum is reached, the offender will have their licence suspended for three months for every point over 15.

Three such suspensions will then mean the offender’s licence is cancelled and they would have to go through a rehabilitation programme and then apply for a Learner’s Licence.

There are something like 2 500 offences listed that would attract demerit point status and herein lies the root of much of the objection to the system in that it is potentially an open door to rampant corruption.

Since the issuer of the infringement notice knows the alleged offender has a mountain of paperwork to work through in order to challenge the notice, the chances of ever having to appear in a court and justify or prove the offence was committed is highly unlikely.

Motorists need to understand this is happening and start now to actively ensure they obey all traffic reules and regulations.

Colin Windell - proudly CHANGECARS