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Rush-hour truck restrictions on way for SA

2015-04-15 15:45

REDUCE 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

  Video

The Easter weekend saw a high number of deaths on our roads, despite the efforts of law enforcement. Spokesperson for the Western Cape transport MEC, Siphesihle Dube, reveals that most road deaths were pedestrians.

Cape Town - In a move to curb South Africa's appalling road death toll, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters is proposing restrictions for goods vehicles on public roads.

According to the department, the restrictions will affect commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeding 9 000kg.

The intended regulations will be published for public comment and discussion later in 2015.

REDUCE ROAD DEATHS

According to Peters: "This intention is in response to the increase in the number of road carnage that involves goods vehicles on the South African roads."

The new regulations state: "No person shall operate on the public road a goods vehicle the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 9 000kg from 17:00 to 20:00 Monday to Friday [except public holidays] and from 06:00 to 09:00 Monday to Friday [except public holidays)."

Essentially vehicles with a GVM of more than 9 000kg can only operate on public roads from 09:00 to 16:00 and 20:0 to 06:0 during week days. There are, however, provisions for emergency service vehicles.

The department adds: "This provision shall not apply in case of emergencies, to the driver of a fire-fighting vehicle, a fire-fighting response vehicle, an emergency medical response vehicle, a rescue vehicle or an ambulance, who drives such vehicle in the performance of his or her duties, a traffic officer or a person appointed in terms of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No 68 of 1995), who drives a vehicle in the carrying out of his or her duties or any person driving a vehicle while responding to a disaster as contemplated in the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No 57 of 2002)."

TO BE IMPLEMENTED END OF 2015?

Transport department spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi, states that the regulations are in "draft form" and will have to be presented to his party's cabinet, discussed in Parliament and will incorporate public input. He states that the department hopes to implement the proposed regulations by the end of 2015.

Video: Reaction to government's 'random driver testing' plan

HOW WILL IT AFFECT THE FREIGHT INDUSTRY?

The proposed regulations could have a drastic affect on SA's freight industry. How will commercial freight operators cope? What about companies that rely heavily on freight deliveries?

To answer these questions and more, Wheels24 spoke to the SA Road And Freight Association's (RFA) technical and operations manager, Gavin Kelly.

Kelly said: "The proposed regulations are very worrying - and underline the misconception that freight vehicles are primary cause for incidents on the road.

"In the recent tragic crash involving minister of Collins Chabane and a goods vehicle - it is conveniently forgotten that the vehicle in which the minister was travelling appeared to have been travelling at more than 200km/h. However, the truck involved is seen as the cause of the crash.

"Why has the minister decided to restrict freight movement between the proposed times and on the proposed days? It is important that the minister provides the detail or information that supports such a proposal - and we await such.

"Has the minister researched the effect on traffic flow and the increase in safety over these hours [this surely is the foundation for her proposal]."

ECONOMY AT RISK

Kelly said: "Has the minister determined the effect on freight movement, scheduling, delays and the resultant increase in freight movements between the proposed times of restricted movement? If so - could she please attach this to the proposed regulation changes she is planning to make?

"Has the minister calculated the effect this would have on the economy [and if so - we look forward to seeing this attached to the proposed regulations].

'ILL-CONCEIVED PROPOSAL'

"It is interesting that the proposed restrictions exclude public holidays and weekends - is this because there are less light vehicles on the road and therefore the risk is less? Generally over these periods freight has reduced deliveries as many businesses would be closed. Freight cost would also increase over public holidays and weekends. Has the minister calculated this into her proposal?

"The proposed legislation is ill-conceived and not clearly thought through and will damage logistics, raising costs and will cause severe bottlenecks in the logistics chain."

ARRIVE ALIVE RESPONDS

Arrive Alive's Johan Jonck said: "We will have to wait for the draft regulations to be published. We understand the reasoning behind this. It cannot be denied is that trucks often do contribute towards chaos on roads during peak traffic hours.

"It would also be important to consider the effect on traffic on our freeways [long distance open roads] when trucks usually travelling during the times proposed. It could add significant volumes of trucks for roads users to share the roads with outside of peak driving hours on our national road.

"It will be even more important for drivers to be alert to the risks when sharing the roads with heavy vehicles and we will need to create further awareness on aspects such as safe overtaking, the risks of blind spot driving, the need for patience etc.

"There will need to be much more consideration between the different modes of transport as more trucks are going to share roads outside of the 'prohibited' times. A long-term solution is that we need to make more use of rail for our transport and freight needs."

MORE FROM PETERS

Earlier in April, Wheels24 reported that the department of transport proposed that metro officers be given the authority to perform random "driver's license retesting". Justice Project South Africa described this as "horrifying".

Video: Reaction to government's 'random driver testing' plan

What do you think of Transport Minister Dipuo Peters' proposal? Will we see a reduction in road deaths? Email us  and we'll publish your thoughts.


Read more on:    dipuo peters  |  south africa  |  driver  |  traffic  |  road safety  |  trucks

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