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HomeFeaturesTraffic fines and licence demerits you can get under the now-legal Aarto Act

Traffic fines and licence demerits you can get under the now-legal Aarto Act

The controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act was recently declared valid and constitutional by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), overturning the Pretoria High Court’s judgement from early 2022.

The Act, initially introduced in July 2021 in provinces such as Gauteng, has been met with backlash from the public and civil organisations including the Automobile Association (AA) and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) for being a misguided attempt at restoring order to the country’s chaotic roads, stating there is no proof that the Aarto pilot project started in 2008 has saved a single life.

While Aarto has technically remained in effect this entire time, it was not strictly enforced, however, the ConCourt’s judgement now gives the authorities the green light to continue with the rollout and application of the Act.

Demerit points

Aarto aims to improve road safety by penalising drivers and fleet operators who have infringed on traffic laws by imposing demerit points that could lead to the suspension or cancellation of licences, professional driving permits, or operator cards.

Each time an offence is committed, a driver will receive a set amount of demerit points – depending on the severity of the offence – and if they commit multiple offences within a given period, they can lose their licence either temporarily or permanently.

The licence suspension conditions are as follows:

  • Total points – A maximum of 15 demerit points can be received by a driver. After this, they will be disqualified from driving their vehicle.
  • Duration – The duration of the disqualification will equal three months for every point over the 15-point limit.

If a driver receives three licence disqualifications under the Aarto system, their licence will be taken away completely.

To get it back, they will need to wait until the disqualification period has expired, apply and earn a learner’s licence, and then a full driver’s licence once again.

Of the 2,500-plus offences in the eyes of the Aarto Act, the table below show those which are most likely to be committed by the average driver and the fines and demerit points associated with them:

Infringement Fine Demerit points
Failure to stop vehicle on the command of a traffic officer Criminal offence 6
Failed to stop behind the line at a stop street R1,500 2
Failed to proceed when a traffic light was green R1,000 1
Skipped a red traffic light R1,500 2
Operated a vehicle on a public road with expired licence R2,000 3
Operated a vehicle on a public road without a licence R2,000 3
Driving a vehicle with a learner’s licence with no licensed driver in the car R3,500 5
Driver is unlicenced to drive class of vehicle Criminal offence 6
Failed to display vehicle licence disc R2,000 0
Failed to licence vehicle Criminal offence 6
Reckless or negligent driving/Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol Criminal offence 6
Inconsiderate driving R1,000 0
Driver did not ensure that all passengers were wearing seatbelts R1,500 1
Vehicle not fitted with seatbelts correctly R1,000 1
Seatbelts not working properly R500 1
Failed to obey stop sign R1,500 2
Failed to obey yield sign R1,000 1
Failed to obey directions at a four-way stop sign R1,500 2
Failed to comply with directions of a road traffic sign by not maintaining or exceeding the specified speed limit R1,000 1
Failed to comply with directions of a road traffic sign by not passing on the left-hand side R500 1
Failed to pay ordinary or e-toll fee per gantry/plaza R500 0
Removed or altered components of vehicle affecting its roadworthiness R3,500 5
Operated a vehicle with a brake that is not in good working order R3,500 5
Operated a vehicle with a damaged lamp R1,000 1
Operated a vehicle between sunset and sunrise or during unfavourable visibility conditions without lamps R1,500 2
Stop lamp not emitting a red light when in use R1,000 1

Serving of fines

In addition to the demerit system, Aarto has decriminalised many traffic infringements that were previously seen as criminal offences.

As a result, there is a new three-step process for serving fines to implicated motorists.

According to the Road Traffic Infringement Agency: “An infringement notice can either be written and issued to an alleged infringer on the side of the road, or it can be an electronic infringement issued to an alleged infringer via mail.”

Following this, the recipient has 32 days to:

  • Pay a discounted fine and incur applicable demerit points.
  • Arrange to pay the fine in instalments and incur applicable demerit points.
  • Submit a written appeal contesting the alleged violation.
  • Nominate another driver if the vehicle owner was not responsible for the infringement.

If the recipient does not respond within the first 32 days, a courtesy letter will be issued to remind them of the outstanding fine.

Following this, the recipient again has 32 days to:

  • Pay the full fine plus R200, as well as incur the applicable demerit points.
  • Submit a written appeal contesting the alleged violation.

In the case where the recipient did not respond during both the previous periods, an enforcement order is issued.

This applies the needed demerit points and blocks the recipient from performing any licensing transactions on eNaTIS.

This makes it impossible for the recipient to get a new driver’s licence, a professional driving permit, or a new vehicle licence disc.

To comply with the order, the recipient must pay the full fine plus R300. They will then have 32 days to comply with the enforcement order for it to be revoked.

However, if a fine is categorised as a criminal offence, it will still be prosecuted in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.


The Aarto Act further details a variety of new fees that are applicable to motorists doing business with the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).

Under Schedule 2 of the Aarto Act, the following fees are applicable:

Service Fee
Monetary value of penalty unit R50
Infringement penalty levy R100
Courtesy letter R100
Enforcement order R100
Ascertaining demerit points i.t.o section 33 of the Act R60 – R240
Request for outstanding infringements report R60 per report
Notice of failed, insufficient, or dishonoured instalment R10
Receiving fee for receiving entitires 3% of transaction
Fee for compulsory/voluntary attendance of rehab programme Market related

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