How should employers prepare for implementation of the point demerit system for road traffic offences?

The point demerit system for road traffic offences is due to be implemented nationwide on 1 April 2016. How should employers prepare?

The policy manual and employee contracts should be updated to take account of the new system.

The onus for ensuring one’s licence is valid and not suspended or cancelled must very clearly rest with the employee. At the same time, it must be clear that employees are required to obey the law at all times and that the company will not request or require employees to break the law. Managers and supervisors must be very clear and should receive specific instructions on this point.

Where an employee is required to have a valid driver’s licence, the employee should also be required to keep the employer informed of all demerit points incurred, irrespective of whether the offence occurred on company business. This allows the employer to be forewarned of potential problems.

The employee should also be contractually obliged to allow the organisation to regularly verify the demerit record of the employee on the National Contravention Register.

Car pool sign outs should include the acknowledgement that, until the car is signed back in, the employee concerned accepts responsibility as the designated driver for any traffic-related offences. And employees who drive their own company-owned vehicles must have a similar acknowledgement in their contract.

Policies should state that any traffic violation occurring while an employee is on official business or driving a Company vehicle will be investigated by the organisation and that, where warranted, disciplinary action may be taken against the employee concerned. This will relate to the extent to which company property was at risk through the employee’s actions or failure to act.

It should also be stated that, should an employee’s licence be suspended or cancelled for any reason, the suitability of the employee for continued employment based on his or her capacity for the job will be investigated, which may result in dismissal for incapacity.

Employers should be aware of the documents required to be completed and the processes to be followed should an AARTO notice be received, particularly with regard to designating a driver of a company-owned vehicle.

Training of staff and managers should also take place and the above requirements should be included in the induction of new employees.

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Ian Webster

From Methodist minister to Customer Relations manager in a computer bureau to HR Manager in a newspaper printing and publishing company. Now focussing on training and developing people, people-management consulting and writing and editing.

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