Motoring Correspondent
3 minute read
22 Oct 2020
12:25 pm

AA hits out at Aarto’s ‘cash cow’ draft

Motoring Correspondent

"Department of Transport must feel the pressure of public opinion to put road safety ahead of revenue collection".

Image courtesy Chance Agrella/Freerangestock.com

The Automobile Association (AA) has described the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences’ draft document as being nothing but a “revenue collector” that has little to do with improving safety on the country’s roads.

In a statement, the association says the document “makes a mockery of the claim that the law is intended to improve road safety” with the biggest concerns being the R100 Infringement Penalty Levy (IPL) charged in addition to the actual final it describes as a matter already being performed by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), and the removal of detailed information pertaining to the infringement at hand.

“This is a disproportionate, sweeping and unjust draft regulation and is similar to having someone pay a fee to submit their tax returns; it’s an ultimately unfair surcharge for a function that is already paid for through traffic fine revenue,” the AA said referring to the IPL.

“The quiet implementation of a multi-billion Rand stealth tax is an outrageous addition to the regulations. We urge the Department of Transport to remove it – it is neither just nor necessary and is, in our view, an example of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency, which administers AARTO, encroaching on the National Treasury’s fiscal territory,” the Association says.

Regarding the removal of the infringement details, the AA says this it goes against South Africans’ right to know, with the proposal to increase the sending of the notices from 40 to 60 days being yet another point of content.

“The original architects of AARTO took note of the problems with postal delivery of traffic fines and realised that registered mail achieves reliable service of these notices. The return to ordinary mail is regressive and inexplicable, and these changes combine to create the impression that the current draft regulations have not been thought through carefully enough, and are designed to actually actively hinder citizens’ and their rights,” the AA continues.

“This all supports our interpretation that these regulations are geared towards generating revenue and are not genuinely seeking to improve conditions on our roads. It’s worrying, for instance, that the penalty for not having an infant in an appropriate child restraint only carries a one demerit point infringement value and a R1500 fine, while failure to inform authorities of a change of personal particulars results in a massive R3 000 fine, up from the current R500. This is completely inconsistent with the purpose of AARTO, and pays lip service to the notion that authorities are invested in halving road deaths in the country by 2030″.

It also questioned the R500 fine and one licence demerit point given to drivers whose seatbelts are not working properly, whereas failing to stop directly behind the white line at a stop sign carries a heavier R3 000 fine plus three demerits points.

“Seatbelts can reduce death or serious injury in crashes by up to 75%. Surely, if safety is key to AARTO, working seatbelts carry a greater priority than nit-picking over where a motorist stopped. Again, this provision does not make sense against the backdrop of the stated intentions of AARTO and what is ultimately contained in the draft Regulations,” the AA said.

“In our view, the Department of Transport must feel the pressure of public opinion to put road safety ahead of revenue collection. Having completed a study of the draft regulations, we will be making a detailed submission ahead of the deadline. We urge the public, transport specialists, and traffic attorneys to make their own submissions, or to view and support our submission at https://www.aa.co.za/aarto-submissions to ensure a successful system of managing and deterring traffic violations is implemented”.

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