South Africa is well known for its off-the-charts accident rate and road deaths. In fact, according to the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA), road fatalities in 2016, took a massive jump from 2015, with 14, 071 reported deaths in 2016, up from 12, 944 deaths recorded in 2015. This is the highest annual road death toll since 2006 when a recorded 15, 419 people died on South African roads.
With this in mind, it has become necessary for the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) to implement a new demerit system for motor vehicle license holders.
The demerit system has been put in place to prevent repeat offenders and lawbreakers from being on the roads, or at least to help curb their driving habits, and inevitably a number of deaths on our roads.
All drivers will start with a point system of zero points. This point system can then reach 12 points before a suspended license is issued. Drivers will receive a 3-month suspended license for every point above 12. Three suspended licenses will result in a permanent license removal.
Demerits are issued according to the violation as opposed to the incident. For example, if you are caught speeding, driving under the influence and driving an unlicensed car all in one go, each violation will be individually demerited against your name.
An issuing authority will hold onto your license if it has been suspended until your suspension has expired.
The only offences that are not considered for demerit, are driving without a seatbelt – resulting in a R250 fine and no demerit, as well as driving no more than 15 km/h over the speed limit – resulting in a R250 fine and no demerit. Every other offence is considered serious and will range from a demerit of 1 – 6 per offence, depending on the offence.
See the chart below for a full overview of fine costings and demerits:
Image courtesy of Review Online.
The proposed demerit system will need to be reviewed by parliament, and if so, will then be handed over to The National Council of Provinces (NCOP). If the council approves the Bill, Aarto will be able to implement it as soon as the end of 2017/2018 financial year end.
With the holidays upon us and a rise in motor vehicles on the roads, inevitable, there is more chance now more than usual of accidents occurring. Taking precaution is always the best bet to avoiding conflict and stress. You can ensure your merits remain at zero, by simply abiding by the road laws and staying on top of your car and driver’s license renewals. Don’t be caught with an outdated car or driver’s license – always wear your seatbelt – check your car’s tyres, lights, spare tyre, and roadworthiness, often. Abide by the speed limit of a road – these have been put in place for a reason. Watch the road signs, robots and stop streets – you could save both your life and others by simply being aware and careful.
Lastly, make sure that you are fully covered, insurance wise, in the event of an accident occurring, by the fault of another person. Chat to one of our friendly consultants to learn more about car and personal insurance.