You’re exceeding the speed limit by 15km/h and don’t notice the camera that catches you as you pass. This may once have resulted in a fine of a few hundred rand, but in future it will cost you a lot more, says Bertus Visser, the chief executive of distribution at PSG Insure.
He says the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act was signed into law on August 16. As a result, road traffic offences will incur both a monetary fine and corresponding demerit points (points will vary depending on the offence). Although it will still take time to come into effect, it’s best to prepare, says Visser.
Your Aarto profile will almost be like a credit score: it will reflect a real-time record of all your driving dealings on a national system, with any points you accumulate tallying to one total, Visser says. If you commit more than one driving infringement at a time, you will be assigned the demerit points that correspond to the most serious infringement, he says.
If you accumulate 12 points, your licence will be suspended for three months (although there will be a facility to contest fines), Visser says. Once reinstated, you will only be allowed to accumulate one point every three months.
Three suspensions in total will result in your driver’s licence being cancelled, Visser says. Clarity is awaited on the consequences of accumulating more points than allowed once a suspended licence has been reinstated, he says.
Visser says that if your licence is suspended, you will have to notify your insurer immediately. This could mean that you no longer qualify for comprehensive vehicle cover, as driving with a suspended licence is against the law and therefore uninsurable.
Depending on the wording of your policy, it might be possible to keep your cover in place, provided that another person, such as a family member, drives your car but it will be essential to check this, he says. Otherwise, you will only be able to cover your vehicle against theft and fire.
Be aware that insurance against theft might only mean that some vehicle upgrades aren’t covered, says Visser. It is best to check the level of cover for which you qualify, disclosing all accessories and any additions. This will better align your policy with your car’s realistic market value.
Non-disclosure has always been a reason for an insurer to repudiate a claim or cancel a policy, says Visser. While you will need to provide permission for an insurer to access your Aarto information, if you are found to have lied about your driving record it will damage both your reputation and your ability to secure insurance in future. Any Aarto offences will be considered in your premium calculation, so it will help to keep your score as clear as possible, Visser says.
For employers who require staff to drive company vehicles – be it to client meetings to deliver goods or services or to move large stock or machinery – it will be a big concern if an employee has their licence suspended, Visser says. Insurers always require drivers to have valid driving licences, so employers will need to conduct regular Aarto checks.