Demerit Bill for traffic offenders on the cards

A BILL that is expected to introduce a demerit system that will see serial traffic offenders losing their driver’s licences has been given the thumbs-up by the National Assembly. The Bill was introduced to Parliament to amend the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act of 1998.

After a vote, 225 MPs voted in favour of the Bill being sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence. Eighty-eight MPs rejected it, while no MPs abstained.

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi said the Bill was being introduced to improve driver behaviour at the back of an alarming increase of carnage on South Africa’s roads.

“The tabling of this Bill is a direct result of the untenable and unsustainable road safety situation in our country. We are experiencing a tremendous loss of lives, especially of young people, as well as the continued breakdown of road traffic laws,” he said.

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Maswanganyi said the amendment Bill will further pave the way for the administration of the demerit points system; the establishment of the rehabilitation programme for offenders; the establishment of the Infringements Appeals Tribunal in order to empower any road user to attend to any issues related to offences and to introduce the serving of documents through electronic means.

“The point demerit system provides for an easy and objective mechanism of identifying habitual infringers so that the applicable penalties can be effected on them. Those that continue to break the law will find themselves ultimately losing their driving licences through suspensions and cancellations. We must remember that the driving licence always belongs to government.

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“Those drivers, who would have lost their driving licences, can be redeemed through the rehabilitation programmes. In this way, we then influence those drivers to change their behaviour to [comply with] road traffic laws,” he said.

 

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