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New road rules for SA: 'Reducing the speed limit is a waste of time'

2016-12-07 07:06

NOT SAFE FOR ANYONE: Wheels24 reader Stephinah Segalagala snapped this image of children being transported to school on the back of a bakkie. Image: Wheels24 reader / Stephinah Segalagala

Cape Town - In 2015, Wheels24 reported on draft road and traffic regulations for South Africa released by the Department of Transport.

Draft regulations, intended to reduce road carnage, include lower speed limits, the banning of transporting children in a bakkie's load bay and restricting the use of heavy vehicles on public roads.

In 2016, as with most laws pushed by Government it takes time to implement, however two amendments have been published including a proposal to revamp the learner's licence test. Another change to traffic rules will be the implementation of new licence plates.

Vote - children transported on bakkies

More than 18 561 readers (70%) believe that transporting children on the back of a bakkie should be banned, as it's extremely dangerous; 2268 votes (9%) went to 'allowed but only if they're restrained', while 5643 readers (21%) said it should be 'allowed, how else would they get to school'.

New laws

The draft regulations, published in the 2015 Government Gazette, propose these 5 changes to legislation:

 1 Drivers to be re-evaluated when renewing a licence;
 2 No more than five people to be carried in a bakkie load bed;
 3 Children not to be transported in a bakkie load bed;
 4 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;
 5 Goods vehicles above 9000kg GVM to be banned from public roads during peak travelling times.

Readers respond

Ivan: Law enforcement is currently the biggest problem, my question is can dashboard cameras be used to help police the bad behavior of drivers, if so, it should be it should be encouraged that members have some type of media installed in their vehicles, this will eventually make our roads safer and less frustrated drivers.

Leon Bettie: Changing these rules will add no value as the South African public has no regard for any rules. Until road users stop the bad behaviour nothing will improve. And only active bribe free policing can change it. Daily I see people driving whilst using their cell phones, and I only drive 10km.
The current rules are not effectively policed so what are new rules goimg to change.
Dropping the urban to 40 will just compound the traffic congestion. All traffic lights will be out of sync.
Rules change NO - Attitude change YES.

Justin Phillips: I am outraged at the proposed new regulations:
  •Renewing drivers license every 5 years is crazy in the first place. Doing a test is a very expensive waste of time, and will result in a whole new campaign of bribery. This is insane.
  • Reducing speed limits as much as is stated will result in massively increased congestion, besides wasting even more time for citizens. Another massive revenue earner for the traffic police, who are completely unable to enforce even current (moving) violations.
  • Carrying people in bakkies is crazy – I agree with that.
  • Slow speeds around schools also OK.
Just another example of a pathetic attempt to fix things through draconian regulations, when basic traffic measures are not being enforced.  Disgusting and pathetic

Kevin Laas: The licensing departments cannot cope with the current licence tests and there are great delays. This will just become a nightmare and a money making exercise for the department at the consumers expense and time. They really have to start being realistic!

The effects of changing the speed limit sounds practical but no one has considered the effect on the economy (costs due to lost productivity / time?). The only one that makes sense is no children on backs of bakkies. Please wake-up to Reality.

Yaakov Coetzee: Lowering the speed limit is not going to stop taxi and drunk drivers from killing people. Introducing a better driving course might help, but we need proper law enforcement in this country. In addition the same rules should apply to all including taxi and other crazy drivers. 

Zane van Zyl: My biggest gripe with these rules are point number 1 and 4.
1. Renewal of license: Do they have the manpower at the moment in order to enforce such a law and what are the plans to cope with the increased volumes? Just think of the waiting time for any new license applications, plus the almost guaranteed bribe that goes along with in getting yours. Any government related task/renewal the public has to undergo requires a day’s leave at best and very long waiting queues with unprofessional staff waiting at the other end of the table. What will happen to your license then if you can’t book a test date before the license expires and what will be the minimum booking time for that?

4. What’s going to happen to the speed limits in the Karoo or other vast open spaces in our country? Today’s modern day cars are capable of being driven at much higher speeds than our current speed limits all day long without mechanical failure or tire blowouts (if properly maintained). Unfortunately, the drivers are not always the sharpest tool of the vehicle. Drivers overtake on blind crests and solid lines with traffic coming from the front, without any regard for their own or other road user’s safety.
We need more re-enforcing. Not more rules…

Gary Chittenden: Reducing the speed limit is a waste of time, law enforcement of the existing speed limit is all that is required and although this is to save pedestrians, what is required is a proper investigation must be conducted as if the bulk of pedestrians who get run over because they are in the middle of the road (due to not paying attention even at 40km/h they could be killed).

Doing 120 on the open road again is not a problem. Once again if properly investigated it would be found that the people in problems is due to the fact that they are exceeding the set speed limit and driving dangerously (once again proper law enforcement and visible policing will have a positive effect on the drivers).

Retesting when the license is renewed again is also a waste of time as proper law enforcement will eliminate a lot of the defaulters I do believe this will make a huge difference without altering the speed limit 

Digby Whitehead: If existing rules of road laws were enforced none of these new laws would be necessary. All well and good bringing new laws how are they going to be enforced all this wada wada just get real no sense to introduce new laws when old laws are not enforced? Please explain! 

Jurgens Basson: A Bakkie is a vehicle made for the worst road surfaces and is at times the only means of transport for rural people. 

An amendment that will make sense,  is a bakkie can only be used for the  transport of  people,  when the loading bay  is closed in by a canopy that has roll bars and reinforcement on the side.
This should be stronger than the taxis now on the road that look like a cut open fish tin after an accident. The amount of people restricted on the back of an open bakkie won't save them in case of an accident. They are still flying objects if it is without a canopy.

Ian McNee: It's about what you would expect from our government but how is this for dumb headed stupidity?

It is compulsory to wear seat-belts in the back seats of a car but it is legal to transport people on the load bed of a bakkie.  In this area it is common to see up to 20 men packed into a load bed, some standing some sitting on the sides or tailgate on the open highway. Woe betide you if you are stopped in town with 2 unbelted passengers in the back seat of your car.

Johan Britz: What a disaster! We are a third world Country and they want to implement 1st world standards.

Who is going to do the testing with renewal of licences – more corruption! Government had taken the railroad away and now they want to stop transport of goods during peak periods – who is going to pay for standing cost of the goods and trucks?

Why bringing the speed down – the cops must get out of their offices and cars and start doing their JOBS!

Billy Drummer: How can people be transported on the back of a bakkie and not have saftey belts!!!defeating the whole object of safety.

Rikesh Ishwarlall: Let’s face it, this is another government balls-up ! In Maritzburg we only see traffic police presence during fun runs and funerals and now as December approaches they are coming out of hibernation!

The law is distinctly clear regarding speed, number plates, tinted windows, tyres, indicators, passengers etc, etc, etc BUT the problem is that this law is not being enforced, not even in a small way. What the hell are we reducing the speed for when thousands of vehicles are unroadworthy ! This is clearly another money making scheme concocted by lazy officials. Travelling at 40km/h is being a hazard on the road!

Trying telling taxis they need to travel at 40km/h…they’ll get a kick in their backsides!

Peter: Frankly, I cannot see the point. A head-on collision at 120km/h between two vehicles results in a combined speed of 240km/h, and at 100 it is 200km/h, which in real terms is not that much different. People who are careless will continue to be careless, ditto with negligent driving.

The traffic authorities appear to be unable to enforce moving violations which are the cause of most of our fatalities because they are too confrontational, no real way of proving what happened because the traffic authorities are not equipped, its their word against the word of the offending driver. So in actual fact nothing has changed. The other laws will again be ignored in favour of trapping for the new speed limits.

Whatever happened to the 100km/h restriction on taxis which is being ignored at present? This was a step in the right direction, but the taxis just ignored it and travelled at 120km/h anyway.  Another problem is the blatant disregard by motorists at robots and pedestrian crossings – it is literally a race to see if the car can squeeze through before the people attempting to cross, even though the light is green for pedestrians.

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