'Aarto will reduce road crashes'

TRANSPORT Minister Sibusiso Ndebele is confident the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto), to be implemented later this year, will significantly reduce road crashes and deaths.

TRANSPORT Minister Sibusiso Ndebele is confident the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto), to be implemented later this year, will significantly reduce road crashes and deaths.

"The implementation of Aarto and the Points Demerit System throughout South Africa will certainly reduce lawlessness on our roads and contribute significantly to a reduction in road crashes and deaths," he said in a statement yesterday.

"Aarto will also improve the overall safety of road users and encourage responsible road behaviour."

The objectives of Aarto included penalising drivers and operators guilty of offences through the imposition of demerit points, leading to the suspension and cancellation of driver's licences, professional driver's permits or operator cards, he said.

According to preliminary reports, more than 1100 people were killed on South Africa's roads between December 1 and 31 last year Between January 1 and 6 this year 103 fatalities were recorded.

Ndebele described as "ludicrous" claims that road fatality statistics were being doctored.

"We at the Department of Transport have constantly maintained that the number of road deaths in our country is totally unacceptable and that one death on our roads is one death too many. So why would we fiddle statistics and what would we achieve by doing so?

"Our aim as government is to save lives. So we call on any individual or organisation that is able to provide proof that the statistics were fiddled to please come forward with such information."

He said the department, through the Road Traffic Management Corporation, released official road crash and road death statistics. These were verified with the police before being released.

"It has always been stated that December 2009 and January 2010 road death statistics released thus far were preliminary, and not final. These are regularly updated as and when received. Updated statistics for this period will be released later this month. - Sapa

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