What is AARTO?
A summary of what AARTO is all about
Getting help from third parties for infringement notices.
Whilst no provision is made in the AARTO Act for third parties to act on the behalf of the recipient of an infringement notice, there is also no prohibition of this either.
Since the dawn of traffic law enforcement in South Africa a huge industry of ticket touts has been established in South Africa.
Previously, these people and companies could directly represent the recipients of traffic tickets by approaching public prosecutors and other contacts to have fines reduced or squashed. This has been partially dealt with in the Act by requiring the person who the infringement notice has been issued to; to be present before a commissioner of oaths when signing any AARTO forms.
What has become apparent in the areas of Tshwane and Johannesburg is that these ticket touts have not ceased to exist but many of them have become immensely less effective than they were in the past. Making representation on behalf of their clients is no longer a case of who they know or who they have on the payroll and this is actually a good thing.
However, despite there being hundreds or even thousands of these entities around, very few have any idea about the intricacies of AARTO and following their advice has landed many people in hot water.
If you wish to have a third party assist you with your AARTO infringement notices, it is best that you establish their credentials fully before letting them offer you advice.
We do offer services designed to help navigate the AARTO minefield to our subscribers so please check out our services section.
A word on "Fine Toolkits" and "eBooks".
Over the years, a proliferation of DIY get off your traffic fines "toolkits" and eBooks have sprung up all over the place. Some even go so far as to say that upwards of 99% of all fines are invalid.
This is utter nonsense and the authors of these things prey on people who feel that they have been unjustly treated. In many cases they are being unjustly treated.
More often than not, these toolkits are authored by people operating under fictitious names or aliases, claiming to be experts in traffic law but offering no real, verifiable credentials to their claims. Some even go so far as to adopt Jewish surnames while having a postal address in Lenasia, a predominantly Muslim and Hindu area!
The fact is that there are indeed many instances where the issue of electronic and other fines are not valid; however it takes much more than a toolkit or eBook to prove this. Whilst a lot of the information contained in these toolkits and eBooks may be valid and based on fact, misinterpretation of the rules and laws on the part of the author or the reader must be factored in and could have disastrous consequences for anyone making use of it.
A glaring example of this is where references are made to the locations where a speed trap may be set up. The requirement of distances from which a speed trap may be set up from the proximity of a speed sign is often misquoted, as is the existence of camera warning signs and the maximum permissible distances for measurement.
The fact is that the TCSP guidelines state that a speed measurement exercise may not be mounted within 300 metres of the commencement of a speed limit - except where the permission of the Director of Public Prosecutions has been granted, But this gets translated as "a speed trap may not be set up within 300 metres of a speed sign".
Similarly, the requirement for camera warning signs applies only to speed traps where motorists are not stopped at the time of the infringement but this gets translated as "camera warning signs must be displayed if a camera is being used", even if the motorist is stopped at the time. This is simply not true and you are warned that a speed trap can be set up at any time, at any place on a public road and no authorisation to do so, beyond being a duly appointed and qualified traffic officer is required if you are stopped at the time.
As mentioned previously, there are only 60 offences which apply to speed prosecution of a total 2056 charge codes in the AARTO charge book. Speed, whilst a big factor in the severity of collisions when they do occur is far from the only factor that enters into driving and other laws are sometimes enforced, although not nearly regularly or thoroughly enough.
If you buy one of these toolkits or subscribe to any service which claims that "our members never pay fines" then you do so at your own peril! As the saying goes, "a fool and his money are soon parted" and both AARTO and these charlatans rely on this fact of life.
Document last revised: 4 April, 2011