When it comes to driving right, it’s not just your own driving behaviour you need to consider, and that of other road users, but also the overarching traffic laws, which recently underwent some significant changes with the passing of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) amendment bill.

Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, welcomed the bill’s changes, which are aimed at discouraging infringements and reducing accidents and loss of life on South African roads.

Vehicle crash related deaths are continually increasing year-on-year

In 2014, there were 12 702 fatalities. In 2015, this increased to 12 994 and in 2016, 14 071 deaths were recorded – an alarming increase of 1 077 from the previous year

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“When we introduced the Dialdirect Insurance App and 75% cash back offer, it was with the aim to encourage South Africans to drive right – by focusing on things like cellphone use, braking, acceleration and speeding – but its purpose is in fact far bigger than that. Being in the industry of managing risk brings with it a responsibility to make a meaningful, risk reducing impact on society wherever we can and the App has given us the opportunity to do that,” says Warwick Scott-Rodger, Executive Head of Dialdirect Insurance.

Of course, an App alone will not change the mindset of road users, what Maswanganyi refers to as “continued disregard for road traffic laws”. It can, however, act as a powerful force in promoting South Africans to drive more responsibly and in effect, support the road safety awareness efforts of organisations across the country.

Asking yourself what you can do to help make safer roads a reality? Take a look at your own driving habits, use Apps like the Dialdirect Insurance App to monitor them and familiarise yourself with these traffic law changes and how they impact you:

The demerit system – each driver starts on zero points. Each violation of traffic law comes with its own number of demerit points. Reach 12 points and your licence could be suspended. Get three suspensions and your licence will be cancelled.

Centralisation of infringer information – with the creation of a National Road Traffic Offences Register, infringements and offences of every infringer will be recorded.

Special appeals tribunal – legitimate grievances of motorists will be heard by this tribunal who will be responsible for adjudicating, hearing appeals and making judgements. If the person is not happy with the outcome however, he/she may still appeal the tribunal’s decision in the High Court.

Registered owner always liable for fines – the only time this may not apply is if the owner can provide a list of specified details of the person who they allowed to drive their vehicle.

Removal of certain harsher punishments – with the complete removal of Section 21 of the Act, the following will no longer be allowed: confiscation of non-compliant infringer’s driver’s licence; removing the licence disc from his/her vehicle; and immobilising his/her vehicle.

Rehabilitating offenders – this provides an opportunity to positively influence those drivers whose licences have been suspended or cancelled and re-educate them on the importance of complying with traffic laws.

Easy access to documents online – road users will be able the check the status of their infringements at any time. This service not only has a convenience benefit but also a financial one, reducing costs for both the State and road users.

“As much as it is your responsibility to adhere to road rules and traffic laws, you also need to know what your rights are as a motorist and how to exercise them. That means keeping up to date with any changes and their implications,” Scott-Rodger concludes.