AARTO rumours clarified
There have been assumptions in recent media reports suggesting that an item in the draft Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill could make it legal for the state to email traffic fines to alleged infringers.
This is according to the Justice Project South Africa (JPSA). Its national chairperson, Howard Dembovsky, would like to clear the air. He reveals that the amendment is vague and does not refer to ordinary motorists.
Section 4A of the bill notes that where the infringer is a juristic person, an infringement notice may be served electronically to the infringer, who must identify the driver or person responsible for the vehicle at the time that the infringement was committed.
Those juristic persons include companies, trusts and other organisations that may register motor vehicles and nominate a proxy and a representative for their organisations.
Dembovsky comments: “Nowhere in the proposed amendments is it contemplated that ordinary motor vehicle owners or drivers will have infringement notices delivered to them by email. Furthermore, the electronic service referred to, does not specify what type of electronic delivery will be deemed as constituting the serving of an infringement notice.”
The amendment is being proposed to facilitate a less administratively burdensome process, but Dembovsky notes that, while most companies would have access to the internet, email and electronic services, it is estimated that only 11 percent of the South African population currently have access to the internet, and there are somewhere in the region of 10 million licensed drivers.
He adds: “The serving of infringement notices to ordinary motorists electronically would, therefore, not only be impractical, but physically impossible. While the inclusion of an electronic option for notice distribution is a good idea, the amendment insertion is very vague.”
There are a number of other proposed amendments to the bill and the JPSA will be submitting comments on these prior to the closing date for submissions. The AARTO Amendment Bill, gazetted last month for public input, remains open for comment until March 23.