The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng says the new traffic system of fines and point deductions from drivers’ licences — which is being piloted in Tshwane — was too lenient towards public transport and heavy-vehicle drivers.

The party said yesterday that public transport and truck drivers should not be fined the same amount as regular motorists when they committed a similar offence, as the consequences were dire in the event of an accident.

The new demerit system was introduced to penalise habitual traffic offenders.

The system works on points.

Drivers who accumulate more than 12 points will have their licences suspended. Motorists would accumulate points each time they committed an offence. The points depended on the severity of the traffic infringement. Speeding, drunk driving and reckless driving would carry the highest points. One penalty point would fall away every three months if a fined motorist broke no more traffic rules.

DA member of the legislature James Swart said the party would campaign for appropriate amendments to the new traffic code. He said although they supported the new system, heavy-vehicle drivers should be handed stiffer fines because of the greater potential carnage that their actions threatened.

Swart said under the new system, there were no specific penalties for offences committed by drivers of heavy or public transport vehicles.

Road Traffic Management Corporation CEO Ranthoko Rakgoale said this was the harshest legislation to bring discipline to all drivers.

He said drivers would respect traffic rules through fear of having their licences suspended. “If a taxi driver’s licence and a driver’s permit has been suspended he can’t earn a living. This is the harshest legislation.”