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Wednesday / 8 December 2021
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New rules for traffic fines in South Africa

Phase 2 of the rollout of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) has begun, which will bring significant changes to traffic fines in South Africa.

This is according to a report by BusinessTech, who spoke to Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) spokesperson Monde Mkalipi about the implementation.

The second phase of the Aarto project will run between October and December 2021, and will see 67 local and metropolitan municipalities gain access to the system.

How it works

According to the RTIA, the Aarto system will penalise 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.

It will also introduce the electronic service of documents such as traffic infringements.

This means that the new traffic fine system will give motorists the option to receive their fines through the post, via SMS or mobile messaging services, or online, including emails.

Motorists will be able to choose which option they prefer through the Aarto onboarding process, said Mkalipi.

He also said that traffic authorities will be able to track if a fine has been sent via email or SMS, but not whether it has been seen or read by the recipient.

Serving fines

Under the Aarto act, a number of traffic-related crimes that were historically classed as criminal offences have now been decriminalized, leading to a new process of serving fines to motorists.

Following an offence, a motorist will receive an infringement notice that gives them 32 days to respond by paying a fine and incurring the applicable demerit points.

Failure to respond will result in a courtesy letter to be sent to the motorist with an additional R200 fine due to missing the first deadline.

If both deadlines are missed, an enforcement order will be sent to the motorist and they will be blocked from performing licence-related activities on the Natis system.

To remove the block, the motorist will have to pay an additional R300 over the original fine and incur the applicable demerit points.

Demerit points

A maximum of 15 demerit points can be received by a driver. After this, they will be disqualified from driving their vehicle.

The duration of the disqualification will equal three months for every point over the 15-point limit.

The table below provides a breakdown of several common traffic offences – along with how many demerit points are associated with them.

Infringement Fine Demerit Points
Failure to comply and licences
Failure to stop vehicle on the command of a traffic officer N/A 6
Failure to comply with the direction of a police officer who is directing traffic R2,000 3
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
Roadworthiness and lights
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 (light) R1,000 1
Operated a vehicle between sunset and sunrise or during unfavourable visibility conditions without lamps R1,500 2
Stop lamp (light) not emitting a red light when in use R1,000 1
Seatbelts 
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
Traffic signs and speed limits
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

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