Motorists could soon get fines and notices via WhatsApp, SMS and e-mail

Traffic fines and other infringement notices could soon be served electronically.
Traffic fines and other infringement notices could soon be served electronically.
Image: Lucky Nxumalo

Traffic fines and other infringement notices could soon be served electronically.

This is according to the latest draft of the Administrative Adjudication of Traffic Offences (Aarto) bill that suggests motorists receive their notices via WhatsApp, SMS or e-mail.

The draft regulations, which are open for public opinion until December, also explain how the country’s new demerit system will be implemented.

Traffic fines and notices are presently issued via registered mail through the post office or in person.

The new regulations, if passed, will allow authorities to send electronic infringement notices by using data taken from a number of sources. The regulations will be introduced in Tshwane and Johannesburg before being implemented countrywide.

According to the draft, reminders will be sent to those who are late in making payments.

Contact information will be collected so the department of transport can send the notices. The department will get the information from previous documentation, and changes of address for vehicle registration and driving licences on the Aarto website.

Aarto provides a demerit points system in which a person, operator or company pays the penalty and has points issued when a traffic infringement is committed.

The system also rewards law-abiding road users as it reduces one point every three months down to zero demerit points if no contraventions occur.

Once the demerit system takes effect, the maximum number of points a motorist can accrue is 12 points. Each driver will begin with zero points, and a fine and points will be meted out for each contravention.

Depending on the severity of the offence, one to six points are allocated for offences. If a driver collects more than 12 points, it will result in the suspension of their driving licence. Three suspensions will result in its cancellation.

Failing to pay traffic fines can lead to a block on obtaining a driver's licence and an administrative fee, in addition to other penalties.

The driver may apply for the return of the licence on expiry of the suspension period.

Demerit points will be reduced for all persons and operators at a flat rate of one point every three months, or as otherwise prescribed, except when it is evident the process has been deliberately delayed to obtain a reduction in points.

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