Understanding the new driving points demerit system

Bad drivers could face more than just your anger and irritation - they could be slapped with heavy fines for driving infringements. With the new driver’s license point demerit system, SA drivers could receive penalty points for driving offences.

In March this year, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport accepted the final amendments on the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill. The next step is for Cyril Ramaphosa to sign the bill into law. He will also decide when the law goes into effect.

The bill contains legislation for drivers, who will have to follow the rules of the road more carefully or face harsher fines. Motorists won’t be able to challenge their unpaid traffic fines in court and could get their drivers’ licences blocked if left unpaid. 

While penalising drivers who break road rules, the demerit system will also reward law-abiding road users, as it reduces one demerit point every three months down to zero demerit points if no contraventions occur.

According to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences, this is how the demerit system works:

All motorists start with zero points.
Points (between one and six) are allocated according to the severity of road infringements or offences committed.
Demerits are assigned to both drivers and cars when a penalty fine for a traffic infringement is paid or when the person is convicted of an offence in court.
When 12 points are exceeded, the driver’s licence will be suspended for a period calculated in months, equal to the number of points exceeding 12, multiplied by three.
A driver may apply for the return of their licence once the suspension period lapses.
A driver who is disqualified for the third time will lose their licence and will have to reapply for a learner’s licence and redo their drivers testing after the suspension period lapses.
If a driver fails to pay fines, they could be blocked from obtaining driving and vehicle licences.

The reduction of demerits:


Demerit points can be reduced at a flat rate of one demerit point every three months.


How drivers can be penalised:

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