Driving demerit system is now law

2 September 2019

The new Aarto Amendment Bill has been signed into law, which means soon there will be a new point demerit system where drivers get penalised for breaking road rules.

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The new licence demerit system is now law. President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill, and will be implemented once the law has been gazetted with a commencement date.

The new demerit system means that South African drivers could receive penalty points for driving offences, and even lose their licences.

Under the Aarto Act:

• Once signed into law, it will apply everywhere in South Africa

• There will be no need for a traffic authority to prove your guilt

• A new demerit system will be introduced. Depending on the severity of the offence, 1-6 points are allocated for offences. If an infringer has more than 12 points, it will result in the disqualification of the driving licence and three suspensions result in its cancellation.

• During the suspension period, you may not drive. If you do and you are caught, you will be charged with a criminal offence and could face imprisonment.

• Demerit-points diminish at a rate of 1 demerit point for every three months. This is the only way to reduce demerit points. 

• If your driving licence has been suspended twice and you again accumulate more than 12 demerit points, your driving licence will be cancelled.

• Only once the third prohibition period has elapsed, you will have to start from scratch, with a learner's licence, if you want to drive again.

• Failing to pay traffic fines can lead to a block on getting driving and vehicle licences and an administrative fee.

 Whereas documents previously had to be delivered by registered mail through the post office, authorities will now be able to serve documents electronically, and can send reminders via SMS and WhatsApp.

While the points and fines could change, here’s the current points allocation that has been set out by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA):


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