Many of you may be aware that the The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO Act) has now finally been legislated and is said to come into effect soon. Whether it is on track or not, the Act will certainly impact both businesses and consumers alike.
Transport Minister, Sibusiso Ndebele has stated in parliament that the points-demerit system will come into effect on 1 April 2011. The AARTO Act will see demerit points allocated to lawbreakers nationally and the punishment of repeat offenders by the suspending and ultimately revoking of licences.
Consumers that do not comply with the road rules will be hit hard and could face suspension of their licences. A key impact on business will be regarding the suspension of licenses when the available demerit points have been exhausted. Not only does AARTO make provision for the suspension of the guilty individual's driver's licence for a prescribed period of time but it also has a provision to suspend the operators licence for the specific vehicle involved in the infringements. This means that a business could be faced with an employee who cannot legally operate a motor vehicle on the roads as well as having a particular vehicle in its fleet grounded as well.
The following comments from the AA’s Legal desk should however be noted as these considerations appear to have been conveniently excluded from the AARTO document:
Not only must a posted infringement notice be sent by registered post, but it must be issued and served to the motorist within forty (40) days of commission of the infringement.
The option to submit a representation does not only exist when you admit to the infringement and want to provide reasons for it being beyond your control. One would also have grounds for submitting a representation where for e.g. AARTO procedures have clearly not been followed by the issuing authority and one is able to substantiate their non-compliance. This would be the basis for one to request a withdrawal of the infringement notice in the form of a representation. The AARTO regulations provides that representations may be made in the prescribed manner ‘indicating the existence of reasonable grounds why the infringer should not be held liable for the penalty payable…’ , not specifically where you wish to admit to the infringement.