Suspended licenses and buying cars

In a recent MasterDrive webinar, many aspects of the AARTO Act were addressed.

The National Automotive Dealers’ Association (NADA) participated as a panellist on the ‘Insights into AARTO’ webinar. Brandon Cohen, NADA National Chairperson and RMI Board Member represented the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and provided a perspective on how dealerships will be affected.  

The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says NADA illuminated a perspective of the AARTO Act that many not have considered: how AARTO and, in particular, suspended licenses could affect the purchase of vehicles.  Valuable information on expected changes to the industry and its clients was also discussed.

Cohen elaborates: “With the current delay, it is difficult to know precisely what the impact could be. An Act tells you what you need to do, the regulations tell you how you do it. Until we have the ‘how’ uncertainty arises. Despite the uncertainty, it is important to not overlook the pros of moving from a criminal-law based system to an administratively sanctioned one.”

There will be procedural changes in the dealership world to consider as well. “Some of the most significant changes expected include not being able to obtain vehicle finance or even to take a vehicle on a test drive if your license is suspended due to AARTO infringements. Even the supply chain process in the dealership industry is affected.”

Until drivers get the ‘how’ of the regulation, we cannot know exactly what the extent of the changes will be. “We can, however, start looking at policy amendments in the meantime. How the Act will affect purchasing of vehicles by dealerships in the second-hand industry, will change for some and not for others. Ultimately, those dealers that never followed the processes before, will unlikely be affected by AARTO later, at least until enforcement begins.

“As for organisations that do belong to the Association and follow the current processes, changes will take place. Those that follow rules with AARTO will have more opportunity to undertake checks and if one checks better, you get better. It allows for higher quality and safer vehicles to enter the roads which is better for everyone.”

Ultimately, knowledge is power. “Preparing for AARTO despite its delays, is better for everyone. Admittedly, this is affected by how well the process works. If South Africa can get it right, there is potential to see positive change. It works in other countries, and it can work here too,” says Cohen.

Herbert says Cohen has provided a viewpoint that may not have come across the minds of many motorists when considering the AARTO Act. “He has also shown that being ill-prepared is not in the best interest of organisations or motorists as well as the positives that could potentially arise if one is prepared.

“It is for this reason that MasterDrive is assisting corporates ready themselves for the eventual start of the Act. Training sessions highlight aspects that will be most effective to prevent incurring an infringement. This discussion certainly provides food for thought as we prepare for AARTO’s implementation date,” says Herbert.