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You May Soon Be Sentenced to Rehab for Bad Driving

Author: Sherryn de Vos
Date: 2017-03-27
The new demerit system will come with multiple implications for reckless driving. Is a rehabilitation programme for bad drivers among them?
Parliament has heard about a proposed rehabilitation programme to be launched at the same time as the new demerit system. The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill aims to establish rehab centres around the country for road offenders. Taxi drivers as well as drivers, if found guilty in a court of law, could be sentenced to a programme, which will ultimately reduce the demerit points gained.

12 Point Demerit System

The new Bill has proposed a 12 point system. Minor infringements will cost the driver points until the 12 threshold has been reached. The driver’s licence will be suspended thereafter for three months. Should the driver be arrested and convicted in court, according to this amendment, they will be sent on the rehab programme. Drivers can earn back their points through good driving behaviour.
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  Peter Baloyi of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency states that the programme will assist drivers in curbing bad driving behaviour. It will also improve your demerit score.
“Once they have completed the programme, we then reduce the demerit points by three,” Baloyi stated.
 Currently, the proposed system states that a driver can lose two to three points by driving between 10 to 20kms/hour over the limit. It is therefore estimated that a driver can commit around four to five infringements before the license is suspended.

Learners Will Be Impacted Too

Learner drivers will face harsher penalties. The threshold for learners is currently sitting at six points. Should a learner lose six points, they will be sent to a programme. It is only once they have completed the programme that they will be allowed to complete their driver's license. Drivers will have their drivers licenses completely terminated should they have three suspensions. They will then need to re-complete the learners as well as the driver's exam to be allowed back on the road. Baloyi did, however, remind those present that this was merely a proposal for the Bill. It has yet to be signed into law. Once it is signed in however, the finer details of it will be ironed out. Motorists can, in the meantime, start preparing themselves for the demerit system. A refresher of the basic driving rules of the road, and heightened awareness when driving is recommended to all drivers for the roll out of the system.

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