Cape Town - Government is poised to introduce a drivers' license demerit system for traffic offenders.
Drivers will be issued demerits (or points) for road traffic offenses. In other countries where the system has been adopted, a certain number of points can lead to a suspension of the driver's license.
The system will be part of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences system (AARTO) which has been on the backburner since the enabling legislation was passed a decade ago.
According to Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, the AARTO board has now been appointed and the demerit system will be introduced as a pilot project next month (June) in Johannesburg before being rolled out across the country in 2009. It will be managed by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) which will be handed control of the eNatis programme.
Briefing the media before his budget vote speech in parliament, Radebe said that this was part of the overall drive to make people comply with traffic laws. According to the department of transport, 90% of all road accidents are preceded with a traffic offence.
More than 10 000 people die on South Africa roads every year. This pegs the rate of road deaths at 38.8 deaths per 100 000 compared to the 6.7 in Britain, 11.3 for Australia and 15.4 for the US.
"Roads safety remains a critical issue on our roads, more so as road casualties rob families of their members in the most violent and traumatic ways that leave lasting scars, with many losing their bread winners and plunging dependants into poverty," said Radebe who appointed the AARTO board
this week and who is confident that the system will go a long way to curb lawlessness on the roads.