ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION OF ROAD OFFENCES ACT (AARTO) FACT SHEET
Unless the Minister of Transport directs otherwise, AARTO – the new traffic management system that introduces the points demerit system will come into effect at midnight on 31st March 2011.
As you all know by now, AARTO will bring in a new regime and new set of procedures to ensure safer roads in South Africa. This will give rise to more aggressive enforcement and compliance to existing traffic regulations.
WHAT DOES AARTO STAND FOR?
AARTO stands for the Administrative Adjudication of Road Offences Act 1998 (Act No.46 of1998).
The Act is there to make roads safe by:
ü Establishing a procedure for the effective and expeditious adjudication of infringements;
ü Alleviating the burden on the courts of trying offenders for infringements;
ü Penalising drivers and operators who are guilty of infringements or offences, through the imposition of demerit points leading to the suspension and cancellation of driver’s licence, professional driver’s permits or operator cards; and
ü Rewarding law- abiding behaviour by reducing demerit points if infringements or offences are not committed over a specific period.
In a nutshell, AARTO is being introduced to encourage law- abiding and safer driver behaviour – in order to reduce road accidents.
WHAT IS AN INFRINGEMENT?
An infringement is a minor offence for which a fine gets paid, for example, when failing to wear a safety belt.
HOW SHOULD AN INFRINGEMENT NOTICE BE SERVED?
Any document required to be served on an infringer in terms of the AARTO Act, must be served on the infringer personally or sent by registered mail to his or her last known address.
WHAT IS AN OFFENCE?
When a driver has committed an offence there is no fine. However, the driver must appear before the magistrate. For example, driving a motor vehicle without both number plates affixed.
WHEN DO I SUBMIT A REPRESENTATION?
You submit a representation if you admit to the infringement, but give a reason which shows it was beyond your control or explain your circumstances (when these make it difficult for you to pay the penalty
HOW DO I SUBMIT A REPRESENTATION?
You submit a representation by completing a form called an AARTO 08 and send it by registered mail to the address provided on the form. A registered mail is available at the Post Office.
WHEN DO I NOMINATE A DRIVER?
You should nominate a driver if you were not the driver of the vehicle at the time the infringement was committed, even though the vehicle is registered in your name.
WHEN SHOULD I ELECT TO BE TRIED IN COURT?
You elect to be tried in court if you feel that the traffic officer was unfair in issuing the infringement notice to you. You can also elect to be tried if you dispute the accuracy of the equipment used to issue the infringement, such as the speed camera technology.
HOW DO I ELECT TO BE TRIED IN COURT?
You elect to be tried in court by completing an AARTO 10 form and submitting it to the Issuing Authority (e.g. the Traffic Department or Metro Police Department) who will arrange a court date for you.
WHAT IS A DEMERIT POINT?
A Demerit Point is incurred by the driver who commits an infringement or an offence.
HOW IS A DEMERIT POINT AWARDED?
Every driver starts with 0 point, whereas the maximum permissible number is 12. Demerit points are recorded against an infringer when:
ü The fine is paid;
ü You apply to pay in instalments;
ü You are convicted in a court; or
ü When an Enforcement Order is issued.
WHEN IS A DRIVER’S LICENCE SUSPENDED?
The driver’s licence will be suspended for three (3) months for every demerit point exceeding the 12- point threshold. Law- abiding road users are rewarded by having one demerit point reduced for every three months without a contravention.
WHEN IS A LICENCE CANCELLED?
A licence will be cancelled if it has been suspended for the third time.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT PAY MY FINE?
If a fine is not paid within 32 days, the infringer will pay the full penalty amount and forfeit the discount. A courtesy letter is a reminder that the infringer has failed to respond or use the options made available to him/her. The courtesy letter has an administration fee of R60, which means that in addition to the full penalty amount, the infringer has an extra R60 to pay.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I IGNORE A COURTESY LETTER?
If an infringer ignores a courtesy letter for a further period of 32 day, the Registrar will authorise an Enforcement Order. The Enforcement Order means that the infringer may be blocked from performing all transactions on the e- NATIS, which means that the infringer will not be able to do the following:
ü Renew his/her driver’s licence when it expires;
ü Renew his/her vehicle’s licence disc when it expires; or
ü Renew his/her professional driver’s licence when it expires.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT REACT TO THE ENFORCEMENT ORDER?
If an infringer does not react to the Enforcement Order for another 32days, a warrant of execution will be authorised by the Registrar. The warrant will not mean that the infringer will be arrested by traffic officers if stopped on the road or at a roadblock, but instead authorise the Road Traffic Infringement Agency
to engage the services of the Sheriff to seize the infringer’s movable goods and sell them to pay all costs. The authority can also list the infringer with the credit bureau.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN INFRINGER HAS ELECTED TO BE TRIED IN COURT?
An infringer who has elected to be tried in court will be dealt with in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977. This means that a summons in terms of section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977 will be issued and served on the infringer to appear in court, at the said Issuing Authority where the infringement notice was issued.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I AM FOUND DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL (DRUNK DRIVING)?
If a driver is found driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug, he/she will be dealt with in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977. This means that the driver will be arrested, taken to the police station, charged and will have his/her blood drawn by a medical practitioner to determine his/her blood alcohol level.
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY DRIVER’S LICENCE WHEN IT HAS BEEN SUSPENDED?
A person whose driver’s licence, professional driver’s licence or operator card has been suspended must immediately hand in these documents at the Issuing Authority for retention during the suspension. If this is not done, the infringer is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one yea; or both a fine and such imprisonment.
HOW DO I GET MY LICENCE BACK WHEN THE SUSPENSION PERIOD IS OVER?
A person whose licence has been suspended may apply to the Issuing Authority for the return of his/her driver’s licence, professional driving licence, or to have their operator card re-issued.