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Taxi alliance: Aarto out of sync with reality

The alliance says it's unfair that operators could accumulate demerit points for the traffic infringements of drivers.

 Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) says its concerned operators could lose the right to operate their vehicles under a new traffic offences law as a result of bad driver behaviour.

The alliance says it's unfair that operators could accumulate demerit points for the traffic infringements of drivers.

But the Road Traffic Infringement Agency says this won't be the case.

Amendments to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act are being discussed before Parliament's Transport Portfolio Committee.

The alliance says while it supports the bill's intention to improve road safety, the proposed law is out of sync with reality.

It says it accepts operators should be held responsible for the roadworthiness of their vehicles, but insists they should not have to suffer personally for traffic offences committed by drivers.

NTA General Secretary Alpheus Mlalazi says as the bill stands, operators with several vehicles could end up without operating licences.

“We don’t want this law to translate into a greater percentage of taxi operators being criminals by implication.”

The taxi alliance has appealed to the portfolio committee to make the bill more explicit with regard to the offences operators can be punished for.

At the same time, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) says it doesn’t think controversial amendments to traffic offences law will necessarily lead to a change in driver behaviour.

It says instead, more visible policing is needed.

The organisation has complained to Parliament’s portfolio committee on transport that car rental and fleet leasing agencies were having their cars unfairly taken off the road because they were being held liable for driver infringements that were not being passed on to them because of glitches in the paper trail.

The proposed law has been on trial in Johannesburg and Tshwane, but Busa’s Marc Corcoran says the law needs more work before being fully implemented.

“Aarto and changing driver behaviour is not about the volume of camera traffic infringements that are generated by a city, it’s about people being able to see enforcement, engaging with the authorities and understanding the consequences of the infringement at that point in time.”

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)

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