NO-LICENCE TRUCKERS PERIL: Official data shows there are 500 000 technically unlicensed 'professional drivers' hurtling along South African roads. Image: Shutterstock
JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - Nearly 500 000 professional drivers are operating on South African roads without proper documentation, prompting a severe warning from the Road Traffic Management Corporation and meaning they have no vehicle insurance.
The RTMC says freight and public transport operators (owners) will be held liable for the failure of their drivers to renew their professional driving permits.
Information from the corporation indicates that 433 973 expired professional driving permits existed on the National Traffic Information System on December 31 2014. This figure - a whopping 43.35% of all PrDPs issued.
The provinces with the most expired permits is Gauteng (50%), followed by kwaZulu-Natal and Northern Cape with 44% and 43%, respectively.
We asked the TRMC to explain how the lack of licence / papers could affect the vehicles' insurance and therefore other drivers and owners of loads / people being carried. That, dear reader, means YOU...
The answer is simple: vehicle insurance, Arrive Alive confirmed, has a standard clause that the vehicle must be legally roadworthy and its driver suitable licensed and, of course, sober, or it won't pay out. Simply, 500 000 drivers are out there - some perhaps driving 22-wheelers - WITHOUT INSURANCE!
Drivers are required to produce a medical fitness certificate and maintain a clean criminal record to obtain a professional driving permit and the chief executive officer of the RTMC, Advocate Makhosini Msibi, warned transport operators that the Road Traffic Act placed a duty on them to exercise proper control of their drivers and ensure compliance with all provisions of the law - including requirements in respect of professional driving permits.
Msibi emphasised: “It is the duty of the operator to ensure that the vehicle and its driver are fit to operate on a public road.”
Section 50 of the National Traffic Act imposes a responsibility on traffic authorities to suspend or cancel the licence of any operator if that the operator has failed to exercise his or her duties in terms of the Act.
To improve compliance and improve safety on the roads the RTMC and other traffic enforcement agencies have stepped up vigilance and will investigate all major crashes to establish the compliance level of operators.
This collaboration with will be rolled out throughout the year and unannounced inspections will be undertaken on operators’ premises to establish compliance levels. Habitual overloading offenders will be identified and stringent measures taken against those found to be unwilling to comply with the law.
Operators are being warned to adhere to road traffic regulations and obey the rules of the road.
Msibi added: “The National Traffic Police together with other law enforcement agencies will be increasing their vigilance on the roads throughout the year and offenders will be prosecuted."