AARTO nightmare looms

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 03 Jul 2008

A long awaited points system that uses the electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) to award and punish motorists for their behaviour on and off the roads came into effect this morning.

Transport Minister Jeff Radebe launched a merit and demerit pilot project in Pretoria. The project gives effect to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act.

The system has been long in coming and should roll out nationally by year end.

Johan Vorster, CEO of the Tasima Consortium that created eNatis, says the R600-million plus system can track merits and demerits real-time.

"Implementation of the AARTO programme will bring many benefits," says Vorster. "Infringements will be recorded on a central contraventions register and will be visible online, in real-time to traffic authorities all over the country.

"I have no doubt that this will dramatically improve law enforcement."

AARTO uses a carrot and stick approach, punishing serial offenders with demerit points until they lose their driver`s licences. The prompt payment of fines, on the other hand, is rewarded with discounts and the award of merit points.

"Cancelled or suspended driving licences will be recorded immediately and the information made available to traffic officials, thus allowing them to act accordingly," says Vorster.

"The system will also provide court dates for those guilty of infringements. Law-abiding drivers will benefit through the real-time recording of fine-payments, which will ensure they are not incorrectly arrested for non-payment due to the unavailability of the relevant information."

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