Real-time boost for eNatis

The once-troubled electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis) will be a central feature of a more effective traffic laws enforcement programme that kicks off next year.

Tasima Consortium CEO John Vorster says eNatis will allow for the real-time implementation of a points demerit system under the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act.

"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."

Vorster says eNatis is, at its core, an online transaction processing system utilised for vehicle identification and licensing. But "it offers a great deal more in terms of functionality".

When implemented in the first quarter of 2008, the AARTO programme will use a central contraventions register embedded in eNatis to provide for "the swift adjudication of offences, an aspect which has been lacking in South African road traffic management".

He explains that the demerit system, which is a central part of AARTO, "will undoubtedly make for a much safer traffic environment". AARTO uses a carrot and stick approach, punishing serial offenders with demerit points until they lose their driving licences. The prompt payment of fines, on the other hand, is rewarded with discounts and a reduction in demerit 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."

A further upgrade, says Vorster, is making eNatis available to traffic police by means of handheld devices, thus providing officials in the field with real-time access to information.

"Once implemented, Project eForce will make it possible for traffic officials to scan driving licences and check their validity by means of handheld devices.

"They will also be able to query the roadworthy status of vehicles and check for demerit points against drivers. Future enhancements include the ability to issue infringement notices at the roadside and also to record particulars directly at the scene of an accident."

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