NEW ROAD RULES: Government has proposed several new regulations in an attempt to curb road deaths. Image: Arrive Alive ~ Supplied
The South African National Transport Department has publicised draft regulations intended to curb road carnage in South Africa - and Wheels24 readers are really not happy.
The proposals include slower speed limits, no more children in a bakkie load bed, restricting heavy trucks during rush hours and what strikes as the most draconic: a practical driving test when renewing a driving licence.
LOWER SPEED LIMITS
National transport department spokesman Ishmael Mnisi told Wheels24 the proposed legislation would have to be presented to his party's Cabinet, be discussed in parliament and include public input.
His department hoped to implement the regulations - published in the Government Gazette already - by the end of 2015. These are the main changes:
• Driver evaluation before renewing a licence
• No more than five adults in a bakkie load bed
• No children to be carried in a bakkie load bed
• Speed limits cut - 60 to 40km/h in towns, 100 to 80km/h on rural roads, 120 to 100km/h on city freeways
• Goods vehicles heavier than 9000kg GVM banned from roads during peak traffic hours
DRIVERS TO TAKE PRACTICAL TESTS?
One of the proposed regulations will compel drivers to take a practical test, the details of which have yet to be published, when renewing a licence. We asked readers what affect the practical test would have and a News24 poll garnered more than 21 000 votes
Poll results: 21 056 votes
Expose fraudulent drivers - 996 votes
Make for safer roads - 793 votes
Only cause more corruption and frustrate drivers - 8121 votes
Not work. Govt should rather enforce existing laws - 11 146 votes
By far, most readers (11 146) called for the state to work on enforcing existing laws rather than implementing new ones. Only 996 felt a practical test would expose fraudulent drivers and even fewer (793) believed the proposal would make SA's roads safer.
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VIDEO: 'Random driver-testing nonsensical' - JPSA
WHEELS24 READERS RESPOND
Wheels24 has received dozens of emails and comments about the proposals. Our readers' responses ranged from calls for better enforcement of current laws to approval of the new. Here are some of them:
John Oxley: "Cutting speed limits will not stop crashes. Cutting bad driving will."
Chumani Jozi: "First of all they must put strict laws on public transport they should drop there speed limit to maximum of 90km/h on highway/free way 40km/h on rural and 30km/h on urban.
"But as for limiting the vehicle with above 9000kg GVM I think it's ridiculous, they need to rethink that. Safety belt for passengers need to be enforced."
Vinesh Sookdar: Being in the transport industry I can tell you that this would have extreme consequences. People will die waiting for medication, crime will increase as the criminals would have darkness assisting them.
"Operational costs of any logistics company will increase drastically having a ripple effect on consumers, everything from food to medication to everyday essentials will increase and in our struggling economy that would be a disaster."
Read the SA Road And Freight Association's (RFA) response to proposed truck restrictions.
"You can't be a transport minister if you know nothing about transport and the components that run together with transport. The fact that the this ridiculous solution was even given second thought is a joke."
Reader AJ: "Retesting a good idea but not good if not done properly. But traffic officers must be qualified in identifying faults with unroadworthy (sic) cars and bakkies. Vehicles should be fitted with cameras and recording devices like black box."
'CHANGE IN ATTITUDE NEEDED'
Brito Malaba: "Immediately one reads the new traffic laws proposal you pick up a lack of diligent research by the department. It is not the inability to drive that causes crashes but behaviour. An example is a very good driver behind the wheel but using a cell phone whilst driving. It's behavioral Minister, wake up!"
Jenene January: "It is good but what about police cars and ambulances that drive sometimes very fast on the road and break the law on the road also. There is no emergency, they just pass buy.
"I saw many times on the road. It is not the people that drive always fast but the police, traffic cops and ambulances."
Roy Brophy: "One of the biggest problems is that there is no proper law enforcement coupled to the fact that there are too many drivers on the road with 'falsely obtained' licences."
Sipho Sibiya: "That's quite useless, government must employ more traffic police and they must work 24hrs. Sometimes there's a whole week without traffic police on the road, which nobody is supervising this process.'
Simon.kgoele: "If the minister's convoy can drive at the same speed then lets implement; if not, then they must forget that nonsense. How do I get to Cape Town driving at 100km/h? The best they can do is to dispossess the elderly of their right to drive."
Karen vd Hoeven: "What about overloaded taxis? And that they do their own thing on the roads and don't respect other road users. They taxis need to be pulled into line - they think they a law unto themselves."
Suren: "It's not only speeding but driver attitude and poor training."
Dani Pellerade: "Firstly, the reduction of speed limits, it doesn't matter how much they reduce speed limits because it's still not enforced. People are just going to carry on driving the same speed as they are now."
"Secondly, random driving tests are time wasting and just inviting more corruption. Failing a driving test because you rolled back slightly or crossed your hands over going round a corner is not what is causing the road carnage.
"It's alcohol, speed and blatant disregard for rules of the road as in the case of taxi drivers, who cause the majority of the accidents on the roads and that's not mentioning that most of them are not road worthy either. Maybe they should put their focus on the taxi and truck drivers and they would save millions in Road Accident Fund (RAF) claims and hospital expenses starting with these main culprits!"
PEDESTRIANS A PROBLEM TOO
Erica van Vuuren: "Why are so many pedestrians hit by a vehicle? About 90% of them walk on the road not caring about cars. Pavements are filled with junk and pedestrians get scolded for walking on pavements over 'gardens'.
"Fine pedestrians for jay-walking in streets. Also set fines for municipalities not keeping pavements safe and clear for pedestrians.
"The re-evaluation should be set for multiple transgressors. Other can just renew licence. The speed limits should be kept as they are. The proposed trucks restrictions are fine."
Pprunz21: "Children are most important. Therefore the open bakkie rule should be implemented asap. But using a canopy or an enclosed vehicle is OK. I feel as long as the parent trusts the vehicle and driver and the driver sticks to rules of the road drive at a minimum speed n be aware of the surroundings then there would be no accidents or incidents."
Brendon Hardman: "I travel 20km per day on the way to work and 20km per day on the way home through an urban area. Currently, with the speed limit at 60km/h, the trip one way takes me 25 minutes.
"Assuming traffic light intervals remain the same, this trip would now take me 35 minutes travelling at the proposed reduced speed. That is an extra 20 minutes per day or 1 hour 40 minutes per week or a staggering extra 3.5 days per year I would have to spend in my car just to get to and from work."
"Why doesn't about the Minister of Transport focus on active policing to remove bad drivers from the road rather than penalise everybody?"
Ivan Nell: "Al they want to do is create more opportunities to make money, but they can't even carry out basic road safety acts,what will it help because you get people doing just want they want to on the roads especially the so called mini bus taxis and even buses and trucks going above the speed limits, all for the sake of money.
"I don’t think the proposal will reduce the number of deaths on our roads. What I propose is to make driving a 'CULTURE' in order to change the “ATTITUDE' of drivers on the road."
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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!