New proposals may hike traffic fines
Pretoria - A voluminous set of new regulations related to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act was published for comment on Friday.
If the 222-page document is eventually accepted, it will replace all previous Aarto regulations and amendments. Interested parties have 30 days to provide input.
Doug Warren, a director of SASM, a company which offers Aarto training, said at first glance he had noticed that all fines had been increased by R40. Provision had also been made for fines – which previously could be sent by registered post alone – to be served personally on alleged offenders.
The Johannesburg metro police, in particular, previously indicated that the costs of registered post made Aarto unaffordable for them.
Aarto is currently being implemented in Johannesburg and Pretoria on a trial basis. When it will come into force around the country is still unknown.
A full set of new Aarto forms, which make certain procedures clear, is contained in the regulations.
Warren said that in terms of the draft regulations the authorities have to advise anyone making representation within 40 days whether or not they have been successful. There was previously no deadline.
He said certain offences are now classified as serious violations, for which an accused person cannot make representation. Should one wish to defend oneself, one has to go to court. Speeding transgressions of more than 30km per hour are classified as serious offences.
Alta Swanepoel, a consultant closely involved with drafting the Aarto Act, said some of the problems are within the act itself and cannot be rectified with regulations. But she does believe certain processes, like those for handling misdemeanours, submitting representations and re-issuing, are simplified by the draft regulations.
She said the draft regulations are so comprehensive that it will take time to study them in detail.
René Venter, the owner of Avax-SA 466CC, which administers the fines on behalf of entities, said some of the administrative problems had not received attention.
One example is that the authorities have to acknowledge receipt of a request to re-issue a fine within 14 days, but there is no stipulation of the time limit within which it has to be finalised.
She is also worried about the fact that documents can be served on any adult on the premises if the alleged offender is not home, or they can simply be left on the premises. There is too much at stake, she said. The wind can blow the document away and the motorist might be totally unaware of the fine which could cost him his driving licence.
Gavin Kelly, technical and operations manager at the Road Freight Association, said problems on the roads would not be resolved by meddling with laws and regulations.
Aarto has been on the statute book since 1998 but is still not in operation countrywide.
He said the National Road Traffic Act was quite adequate to combat lawlessness on the roads. The shortcomings, he believed, lay in its implementation.
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