Gauteng - The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport held its second round of public hearings into the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Bill.
Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, speaks on AARTO and its roll-out in South Africa:
Peters said: "Our Department has started a Parliamentary process led by the Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCoT) to extensively consult on the AARTO Amendment Bill. The RTIA, the custodian of the AARTO Act, calls upon all relevant stakeholders to participate in making submissions to the PCoT."
Once the Amendment Bill is passed by Parliament, and signed into law by the President, it will mean some of the following:
• Tracking habitual road traffic law infringers,
• Points Demerit System will be fully implemented,
• Road Traffic Authorities will suspend the driving licences of perpetual violators,
• Operating licences of fleet owners will also be suspended should their vehicles exceed a certain number of traffic infringements,
• Compliance with AARTO legislation will create a law abiding road user behaviour, which will translate into safer use of our roads and, and therefore reduction in road fatalities.
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Peters said: "South Africa has been singled out as one of the countries with the highest number of road crashes and fatalities in the world. The level of driver training offered and the qualities of driver skills are not sufficient to ensure that a licensed driver understands the responsibilities, consequences and impact of non-compliance with road traffic laws."
The Transport department has released the following statistics:
• 12 027 860 were registered on the eNaTIS database,
• 12 201 514 driving licences were issued
• For the 2015/16 financial year, 6 721 193 infringements were captured by the Tshwane and Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipalities where AARTO was implemented as a pilot project.
Peters said: "This automatically translates to an average 18 thousand four hundred and eleven traffic violations committed daily in just these two cities. Compared to the previous year 2014/15, this was an increase of 11.52%. This means that instead of drivers improving their behaviour, they actually continue to break the law even more.
"Research has shown that in the order of about 95% of road traffic crashes happen as a direct result of one or more traffic violations. In order to change this situation, the implementation of AARTO will be one of the most important mechanisms available for achieving the strategic objectives of increasing road safety in the country.
"We know that the number of road traffic crashes and fatalities are directly proportional to the level of lawlessness and driver misdemeanour on the roads. To this extent, strong, highly visible and efficient law enforcement operations, coupled with continuous road safety education are no doubt the most effective way to curb these occurrences on our roads.
"As part of our commitment to the United Nations Decade of Action, we have adopted a 365 days road safety programme reliving the philosophy that road safety is not a once off event but a process that will lead us to halve the thirteen thousand nine hundred and sixty seven 2010 fatalities to six thousand nine hundred and eighty four by 2020."
Rehabilitation for bad drivers
Those found guilty of breaking road rules by a court of law will have to complete a mandatory rehabilitation programme under the new proposed demerit system, Parliament has heard.
The AARTO bill will establish rehabilitation centres around the country for such offenders, the portfolio committee on transport heard on Thursday (March 23). If a driver or taxi operator is arrested and found guilty of a road offence, they must attend a programme at a rehabilitation centre as part of their sentence, Peter Baloyi of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency said.