FEWER TRUCKS IN TRAFFIC: The transport department hopes to curb road deaths by restricting the use of heavy, commercial vehicles in South Africa. Image: News24 / Juan Maritz
The national transport department’s proposal to ban trucks exceeding nine tonnes from public roads during peak traffic hours has elicited a strong reaction from business.
If implemented, says the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, SA consumers will have to pay more because operators will be forced to put more vehicles on the road,
The proposed regulations state: "No person shall operate on the public road a goods vehicle the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 9000kg from 6 to 9am or 5 to 8pm Monday to Friday [except public holidays]"
During a meeting with the transport department at the chamber's offices the view was expressed that the issue to be tackled came from a lack of law enforcement and not the implementation of a truck ban.
Video: How will heavy truck restrictions affect SA?
In an attempt to curb SA's horrendous road-death toll the department believes restricting goods vehicles on public roads during peak hours could improve road safety.
READ: New road rules for SA
Chamber CEO Joan Warburton-McBride said: “It's clear that, at the time of the announcement, no meaningful, if any, consultation had taken place with either the private sector or other affected government departments. As is so often the case, the far-ranging consequences, including the cost implications of this proposed policy implementation, have not been considered.
“However, this ban would most likely result in more trucks being on the road at night which will have further implications for road safety as most accidents occur between 10pm and 6am. To ensure drivers and trucks are off the roads, investment will need to be made in additional off-road holding facilities – affecting on security of drivers, vehicles and goods.”
CONSUMERS TO PAY THE PRICE
Warburton-McBride believes the economic loss would be substantial; in addition to the productivity of trucks, the delivery of raw materials and consumer goods would be affected.
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She added: “Freight carriers will need to buy additional smaller trucks, thus increasing the number of trucks on the road, and these additional costs will more than likely be handed over to consumers, already under immense financial pressures given current economic strains.”
The different elements of the transport system were inter-connected and inter-dependent; measures affecting the efficiency of one mode would affect the whole system.
'CONTINUE TO OPPOSE REGULATIONS'
“The South African ports, already congested, would become grid-locked at a considerable cost to the national economy. In addition this will further reduce South Africa’s status as the preferred logistical gateway to the SADC region.
“The chamber has also raised its concerns with the Johannesburg City Council and Gauteng Province and will continue to vigorously oppose any regulations that further hamper business operations."
NEW ROAD RULES
In May 2015 Wheels24 reported that draft regulations intended to curb road carnage included reduced speed limits, the banning of carrying children in a bakkie loadbox and restricting the use of heavy vehicles on public roads.
The draft regulations have been published in the Government Gazette and propose these changes to legislation:
• Drivers to be re-evaluated when renewing a licence
• No more than five people to be carried in a bakkie loadbox
• Children not to be transported in a bakkie loadbox
• Speed limits to be reduced from 60 to 40km/h in urban areas, from 100 to 80km/h in rural areas and from 120 to 100km/h on freeways running through a residential area
• Goods vehicles above 9000kg GVM to be banned from public roads during peak travel times
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