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Where’s SA’s Demerit System?

On South African roads the country’s driver Demerit System has taken years to be implemented, even though the Department of Transport system already said way back in 2015 that it could be given the greenlight early in 2016.

As of July 2016 (the date this article was written), the system, which first appeared 18 years ago, is yet to be implemented…

South Africa’s Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offenders (AARTO) said the system will be implemented “when Aarto rolls out nationally”. The department, however, could not confirm when this would be.

The system looks to be another case of a Government announcing new laws just before elections that then remain in limbo for years.

This system, based on those used in Australia and the United Kingdom, has been adapted to meet local needs, according to Arrive Alive.

The proposed system has been delayed for several years pending, amongst other reasons, a feasibility study and an assessment of technological requirements, law enforcement criteria and an analysis of human resources needed to ensure the successful implementation of the system.

It could lead to repeat road offenders having their driving licences suspended or even cancelled.

How the Demerit System is supposed to work

  • Each driver will start out with zero points (irrespective of the number of classes of vehicle licences held)
  • Points are allocated according to infringements or offences committed (there are different values for different infringements and offences)
  • Points are incurred (allocated) on the date a penalty (fine) is paid or when the person is convicted of the offence (as the case may be)
  • Operators receive points separately from their drivers (i.e a transport company receives points allocated to the operators permit)
  • When you reach 13 points and more, the licence (and/or operator card) is suspended with effect from 32 days after the maximum points (12) have been reached
  • The suspension period is calculated in months equal to the number of points exceeding 12, multiplied by three (or such number as may be prescribed by the Minister of Transport)
  • The number of points (demerits) added will depend on the severity of the offence
  • The driver/operator may apply for the return of the licence on expiry of the suspension (disqualification) period
  • A driver/operator who is disqualified for the third time will permanently loose the licence/operator card and will have to reapply for testing and issue (as if a first time licence / operator applicant) after expiry of the disqualification period
  • Demerit points will be reduced (for all persons/operators) at a flat rate of one point per every three months (or as otherwise prescribed), except in the case where evidence points to the fact that the process has been deliberately delayed to obtain a reduction in points.