On the 13th of August 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Bill into law. The Bill is now to be gazetted with an implementation date.
Despite the Bill being called controversial and having faced numerous objections, a 12 point demerit system has been signed into law. Not only does this new law affect every South African Citizen with a driver’s license, it also has an immense impact on companies that rely on employees employed as drivers and who make use of company vehicles.
Companies have always been expected to ensure compliance with the law and especially the rules of the road should they make use of their own drivers and vehicles. The new demerit system and its application however impacts a company operationally as a license can be suspended, leading to an employee not being able to perform the duties they were employed for.
How does the demerit system work?
Each driver will start on zero points and can earn a certain number of demerit points for each violation of a traffic law up to a maximum of 12 points.
Deductions range between one and six points per infringement.
Should a driver reach 12 points, licenses will be suspended.
Should three suspensions occur, the license would be cancelled and the driver will be required to redo their learner’s and driver’s examinations.
Should a driver proceed to behave responsibly, they can earn back the lost points that may be reinstated at a rate of one point every three months, as long as no other points were deducted over that period.
Driving with a suspended or cancelled license could lead to a further suspension of a year and the possible sentence of a year’s imprisonment.
The Bill also allows for ‘electronic service’ of infringement notices, making it more difficult to be aware of an infringement if it was not received by the driver electronically. Appealing or objecting to an infringement has to be done by written representation to the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), and if unsuccessful an appeal has to be lodged with the RTIA’s tribunal. Only thereafter can the Magistrates court be approached.
It will be extremely important for Employers to be aware of whether a license has been suspended or not and if the driver can still drive legally within the framework of the new legislation. Operationally, having a driver’s licence suspended for three months will have a tremendous impact on a company’s operational requirements and the correct procedure has to be followed to address this and handle it correctly in compliance with labour legislation and practice.
There seems to be a number of agencies and associations who still plan on contesting the newly signed Bill, but Employers are advised to take the new demerit system into consideration pro-actively and to align their policies and procedures accordingly.
For more information on the above topic, please contact the LabourNet Helpdesk at
0861 LABNET (0861 522638).
Not yet a LabourNet client, but would like to know more about our service and products?
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org