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New traffic laws added to the AARTO Amendment Bill

Here are some of the AARTO Amendment Bill traffic provisions and this is your opportunity to respond before it is signed into law.

At a briefing for National Press Club, the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act said that the view that its Amendment Bill represents an effort on the part of government to introduce a points-demerit system, and little more, is not true.

They said in a statement that while the AARTO Act does bring a points-demerit system with it, there is a lot more to it than that, and in fact, the points-demerit system represents but a small part of the AARTO Act’s mechanisms and real purpose. They said if that was the main desire, they could’ve achieved that decades ago.

“The real purpose of the AARTO Act is to migrate the prosecution of road traffic offences for which an admission of guilt fine may be payed from the Criminal Procedure Act and the judicial authority of the courts, to an administrative, process driven scheme, orchestrated by a far from independent State Owned Enterprise which is funded almost entirely by traffic fines and the fees raised on them.”

The AARTO Act has also brought with it the concept of an alleged infringer being guilty until they prove themselves innocent.

Here are some of the provisions made in the AARTO Amendment Bill:

  1. No longer will it only be driving licences and operator cards which may be suspended or cancelled by the points-demerit system. Permits and operating licences issued in accordance with any road transport legislation will also be included.
  2. “Electronic Service” will now form part of the legal means of service of infringement notices and other processes under the AARTO Act. The presumption of service has also been extended to these electronic means of service.
  3. Remuneration and allowances paid by the RTIA to its employees will no longer be subject to the oversight of the Minister of Finance. The RTIA Board will only need the approval of the Minister of Transport.
  4. There will no longer be a legal distinction between a “minor infringement” and a “major infringement”. Charges in Schedule 3 of the AARTO Regulations, and the actions which may be taken with respect to them will be subject to a classification of “infringement” or “offence” only.
  5. Alleged infringers will no longer be allowed to elect to be tried in court. A written representation may be made to the RTIA. If unsuccessful, the alleged infringer may appeal to the Tribunal, if advised by a representations officer to do so, but only if such appeal is lodged within 30 days and is accompanied by the payment of an up-front fee, yet to be prescribed by the Minister. If the Tribunal subsequently rejects the appeal, the alleged infringer must approach the High Court for relief.
  6. If a representation is successful on the grounds of the authorities not having followed the prescribed procedures, that success will be hollow since a replacement infringement notice may then be reissued, provided that it is served within 6 months of the original alleged infringement.
  7. The reverse onus on the alleged infringer having to prove themselves innocent or otherwise take action, will be strengthened. If an alleged infringer fails to take action, the so-called “adjudication procedure” will proceed full steam ahead, culminating in the issuing of an enforcement order.
  8. When an enforcement order is issued, not only will it block the issuing of a driving licence, professional driving permit and vehicle licence disc, but it will also block the issuing of any permit or licence issued in terms of any road traffic legislation or transport legislation. As before, the issuing of an enforcement order will also impose the applicable demerit points to the driving licence or operator card of the alleged (now convicted) infringer, except that such demerit points will also apply to any permit or licence issued in terms of any road traffic legislation or transport legislation.

Click here to see more of the provisions made to the AARTO ACT:

Although the publicity surrounding them has been low, public hearings are currently underway in each of the provinces.

Anyone who holds a driving licence or is the registered owner of a motor vehicle should take the time to read and understand the provisions of the AARTO Amendment Bill and the underlying AARTO Act and to participate in these hearings in order to have their voices heard. Once the Bill is signed into law, it’ll be too late to do anything about it.


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