REDUCING ROAD DEATHS: The national Department of Transport is hoping to reduce road deaths with new legislation that includes slower speed limits and an end to carrying children in an open bakkie. Image: AFP / CARL DE SOUZA ~ AFP
Cape Town - Long queues and understaffed vehicle-licensing centres frustrate thousands of drivers in South Africa - but now the national Transport Department could anger drivers further by compelling them to take a practical test when renewing a driving licence.
Draft regulations intended to curb road carnage include slower speed limits, the banning of carrying children in a bakkie load bay and restricting the use of heavy vehicles on public roads.
SPEED LIMIT TO BE DROPPED?
In April 2015, Wheels24 reported that national Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters had proposed restrictions on goods vehicles on public roads. Now it seems the minister is making good on her promise to restrict the use of commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeding 9000kg.
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 load bed
• Children not to be transported in a bakkie load bed
• 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 travelling times
Video: Reaction to government's 'random driver testing' plan
IMPLEMENTED BY THE END OF 2015?
Transport department spokesman Ishmael Mnisi told Wheels24 that the proposed legislation would have to be presented to his party's cabinet, be discussed in Parliament and include public input.
He said the department hoped to implement the proposed regulations by the end of 2015.
Read the SA Road And Freight Association's (RFA) response to proposed truck restrictions.
Arrive Alive editor Johan Jonck
comments: "We welcome the speed restrictions, especially in light of the high number of pedestrian fatalities in residential areas and urban areas where there are high levels of pedestrian activity.
"It is, however, important to recognise that legislation to make roads safer is only one step. Practical implementation and enforcement will determine whether it will succeed.
"For example, we have for many years had seat-belt legislation and children (apart from the newly legislated car seats for infants up to three years old) that said they must be buckled in, yet we have not seen many children and passengers on the back seat buckled in as it was not effectively enforced."
Jonck said of the proposed truck restrictions: "We could see a backlash from the road freight industry over the proposed restrictions on heavy commercial vehicles in peak traffic.
"Many details need to be ironed out about practicality and how it will affect the freight transport industry. We need to consider infrastructure requirements, the economy etc."
VIDEO: 5 tips for staying safe on SA's roads
VIDEO: 'Random driver-testing nonsensical' - JPSA
Government is calling for drivers to take a practical test when renewing a driving licence. Will this curb road deaths? Have your say in our home page voting booth!
Jonck added: "Questions will be raised among many road-safety activists about legislation pertaining to carrying no more than five workers in the goods compartment of a vehicle.
"It's not the number of passengers but rather the wording that states 'shall only apply to a person conveying persons as their employer during the scope of employment of such persons'."
What do you think of the Transport Department's proposed legislation? Will we see a reduction in road deaths? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts - but make sure you vote!
MORE MOTORING NEWS IN SA
Toyota and Nissan have each issued a local recall triggered by potentially lethal air bags. Thousands of South African vehicle owners are affected.
Former Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are hoping to wow SA fans in June. Watch the motoring trio prepare for their Jozi show...!
Read the proposed changes to legislation below: