With the news being dominated by road incidents including accidents, motorist altercations and complete disregard for the rules of the road, one has to wonder if South African roads have become lawless? It would certainly seem so if we consider that according to Transport Minister, Blade Nzimande, as a country, we experience approximately 14,000 deaths per annum, which equates to at least 38 people daily who lose their lives on our roads. Excessive speeding, drunken driving, reckless and negligent driving, distracted driving along with unroadworthy vehicles have been cited as key reasons for the many crashes on South African roads. What’s more, videos have gone viral that show motorists’ complete disregard for the rules of the road – endangering the lives of not only other motorists but pedestrians as well.
Visible policing is one solution that will go a long way to making our roads safer with more law-abiding motorists, but what about the driving licence demerit point system? The system has long been talked about as a subject of controversy as many believe it is unlikely to have any of the intended impacts on improving driving habits. But with the Bill ready to be signed into law, we are edging one step closer to seeing the demerit point system for traffic infringements implemented.
Some of the key points of this new Bill include:
- Failing to pay traffic fines* can lead to penalties or a block on obtaining driving – and vehicle licences;
- Documents do not need to be delivered through registered mail, but can simply be emailed to offenders with reminders being sent via SMS and WhatsApp;
- 1- 6 points are allocated for offences, depending on their severity. If an infringer has more than 12 points, it will result in the disqualification of their driving licence and three suspensions result in its cancellation.
The passing of the new Bill will be the first time that persistent and repeat offenders will be taken off the road through licence suspension and it will be interesting to see if motorists become more cognizant of the rules of the road in fear of losing their licence. Of course, only time will tell.
*Beame Protect offers you Fines Assist: Receive alerts for any new traffic fines and a guaranteed discount on your fine. Full legal and administrative support and representation for all matters relating to traffic fines including secure online payment.