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Friday / 24 May 2024
HomeFeaturesThe difference between an AARTO fine and a police fine in South Africa

The difference between an AARTO fine and a police fine in South Africa

The new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act is scheduled to go into effect in South Africa at the start of 2024, meaning that road users only a few more months before they will be subjected to a host of new driving infractions.

While AARTO has been in effect in the Johannesburg and Pretorial metropolitan areas for more than 10 years, the new demerit system hasn’t been strictly enforced.

The act will introduce a licence point system intended to mimic similar road laws in other countries that will see citizens accumulate points on their driver’s cards for various infractions while out on the road.

There are 2,500-plus different infractions currently listed under the revised AARTO Act that can incur demerit points, for everything from exceeding the speed limit to disobeying an officer’s instructions.

However, it is important to note that these points are not a replacement for the fines motorists already received for the act of speeding.

In fact, there are important differences between the incoming Act and existing legislation that motorists should be aware of, as these differences determine how a fine is handled.

The crucial distinction between AARTO and fines issued by local or provincial authorities is that the latter are viewed as criminal matters dealt with by the country’s court system, while the former decriminalizes speeding and makes it an administrative process, according to BusinessTech.

This is important because, under the court system, you are innocent until proven guilty, but under AARTO, you are now guilty until proven innocent.

How fines will be served under Aarto

To help navigate this new system, Suzuki South Africa outlined the individual steps of the AARTO fine process.

Everything starts with an infringement notice issued to the individual for either a major or minor infraction in terms of the AARTO legislation.

These notices are hand-written by a traffic officer, but will eventually be replaced by electronic devices. Infringements recorded by a camera, on the other hand, are automatically generated by eNatis and sent by mail.

These fines currently have a 50% discount if paid within the first 32 days of issuing. If the fine is not paid within this time, a courtesy letter is sent notifying the individual that they must now pay the full amount plus administrative fees.

If the courtesy letter is not followed, or the person does not appear in court after requesting to do so, an enforcement order will be sent by mail.

Failing to comply with the enforcement order within 32 days will then result in a warrant being issued to recover the outstanding fees and the full amount of the fine.

Importantly, if you have an outstanding enforcement order, you will not be able to register or renew a driving licence, professional driving permit, or vehicle licence disc until the order has been settled or revoked.

Finally, if the enforcement order is not complied with within 32 days, a warrant will be issued and handed to a sheriff for execution, allowing them to seize your movable property, deface your driving licence and licence disc, and report you to a credit bureau.

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