Pretoria High Court finds South Africa's Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act unconstitutional

AARTO hurdle: what now?


Yesterday, the Pretoria High Court found that South Africa’s Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act and the amendments made in 2021, are unconstitutional. In summary, the court says that the act prevents local and provincial governments from regulating their own affairs. Consequently, AARTO can no longer proceed on the projected timeline.

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The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says this may leave many companies questioning where they stand in terms of preparation for the Act.

“This is another hurdle to the implementation of the Act, one that aims to rectify all the administrative challenges, and it is unlikely AARTO will become a reality within the original timeline. Many years and money were invested in developing the Act and it is highly improbable that it will simply be scrapped because of the loss that this would cause."


“As to when it could become a reality, no one knows and it is very difficult to make this projection. Consequently, the next question businesses may ask is whether preparation for the possible implementation is necessary. While MasterDrive agrees that the current system had potential to be prejudicial, these issues can be resolved and AARTO placed back on the agenda.”


Remember, what was called into question was not AARTO’s road safety potential but its implementation.

“A properly implemented point system retains this potential. The principles intended to bring about improved road safety will likely remain while implementation falls under the microscope. In this scenario, driver preparation for AARTO will not change much when the present hurdles are overcome."


“If your company has already made changes, that investment is not lost. It is important to look at it from another perspective. Firstly, penalties and other consequences that currently exist will be dramatically reduced with changed driving behaviour, impacting your bottom line and overall wellbeing.”


The second, is the need for changed driver behaviour irrespective of legislative changes.

“Companies should not let the existence of a point system rule their driving behaviour. Drivers who respect the rules of the road and are conscious of the dangers, is something every company should already strive for. Threats of legislation should not be the only motivation for safe and responsible road use. With this approach, companies will not worry about future implementation." 


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“This latest AARTO hurdle brings about plenty of uncertainty. It may take time to fix the problems or it could be scrapped altogether. The latter seems highly unlikely considering the investment into the Act. Either way, companies that make good driving behaviour part of company culture will have little to worry about and start to see benefits right away. Rather than worry about the future, focus on the positive attributes that good drivers will have right now,”

says Herbert.

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