Insurers are arguing that an amendment to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act would affect their business.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, recently approved an amendment Bill which would penalise errant drivers through a demerit system that could cause them to lose their driving licence. Under the system, a driver would lose his licence when he accumulates 13 demerit points.
Executive head of the insurance comparison platform Hippo.co.za, Vera Nagtegaal, explained that the demerit system could raise motor insurance premiums, Fin24 reported. “The suspension of a motorist’s licence is likely to increase their insurance premiums or excess, influenced by greater perceived risk on the insurer’s part.”
Mr Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation, said while opinions still differ on whether the Aarto Amendment Bill will be a solution to South Africa’s road safety woes, the fact remains that the road death toll in the country is unacceptably high.
Mr Olivier said: "We all need to take responsibility for our own driving and improve our driving behaviour whether a demerit system is imposed or not."
Around 80% of motor accidents are attributed to driver behaviour. However, in many other accidents, the underlying reason remains the un-roadworthy state of the vehicle. The focus on driver behaviour needs to be accompanied by increased focus on vehicle safety and vehicle roadworthiness.