AARTO amendment: the facts and not OUTA’s fiction

Failure to pay tolls has been an infringement under the AARTO legislation since 2008. To leave the impression, as OUTA does, that the regulatory changes to Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) proposed in the Government Gazette on December 7 are new, is completely off the mark.

What the changes do mean, though, is positive for motorists – the only amendment to provisions relating to toll infringements is the removal of the demerit points for the failure to comply with a toll sign.

“It is a pity, then, that the Opposition to Urban Tolling (OUTA) negates this by its warning about a looming tax revolt. It completely misunderstands the proposed changes and its dire warnings are misplaced,” says Vusi Mona, General Manager of Communications at SANRAL.

“This is a clear case where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

The facts are further that the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) proposes that AARTO notices should have room for notification of more than one infringement. This is legal. Should anybody wish to contest an infringement notice, photographic evidence on which this can be based, is available.

The other proposed amendment is regarding the extension of the period for service of an infringement notice from forty (40) to ninety (90) days. This is proposed to allow for a more practical arrangement that will ensure that alleged infringers receive notices within the service period.

“To connect any of this with e-tolling is another misjudgement – a multiple charge notice may be used by any issuing authority for any infringements. It is in fact simply a practical amendment that will save administrative and postal costs,” says Mona.

There is also confusion about the need to include the name of the magisterial district where the infringement occurred. This is not necessary in terms of the AARTO act but is in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

“These are the facts. Thus, there is no attempt to introduce any new provisions,” said Mona.