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Speed limits, heavy truck ban: here’s why there are no new SA road rules yet

2017-03-01 13:26

NEEDED IN SA: One of the new 5 rules to be passed is that no more than five people will be carried in a bakkie load, as well as no children on a bakkie load bed. Image:

Cape Town - Reduced speed limits, heavy vehicles to be banned during rush hour... in 2016 Wheels24 reported on new draft road and traffic regulations for South Africa released by the Department of Transport.

Draft regulations, intended to reduce road deaths, 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.

As of 2017, the regulations have yet to be ratified. The Automobile Association shares some insight as to why these regulations haven't been implemented.

The draft regulations, 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.

'Draconian actions'

The Automobile Association: "In 2015, a proposal was published to reduce speed limits substantially. The same document proposed banning heavy vehicles from the roads between certain hours. However, lots of fairly draconian actions are proposed by the DoT, but few become law; they are either rejected outright or watered down in committee.

"In the case of the speed and operating hours provisions, neither has been enacted as law and the status quo remains unchanged. In our opinion, both proposals are without merit, and we made submissions to the Department to that effect.

"It would be more productive for people to make submissions to the DoT during the comment period, giving their views on a proposal, than for them to whip up a frenzy on social media when it's too late.

When will these laws be implemented?

The AA said: "We are getting several calls a day from concerned motorists over alleged changes to the speed limits, and operating hours laws. It's evident in all these cases that motorists have misunderstood the difference between 'law' and 'proposal'."

How traffic-laws are implemented in SA:

The AA explains that the Minister of Transport is entitled to make new regulations to the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA), or change or repeal old ones. This process starts with the Department of Transport (DoT) issuing a proposed amendment for comment, which is published in the Government Gazette.

A comment period follows during which the public can give its input on the proposal.

The AA explains: "Once the comment period closes, the Department of Transport will then consider the comments received from the public and then decide how to proceed. The law-making process is quite flexible, and just because something is proposed in the Government Gazette doesn't mean it will necessarily become law.

"Every proposal is published with contact details, including an email address, so citizens can make their voices heard. We advise people to make use of these opportunities so they can safeguard their rights by opposing some of the questionable regulatory proposals published by the Department." 

Click here for the full list of proposed laws 

New amendments made

In November 2016, Government has published two amendments to the National Road Traffic Regulations in its National Gazette (No. 40420).

These amendments pertain to laws regulating transport of school children within the load bay of a bakkie as well as speed regulations for heavy goods vehicles.

In addition, the Department also announced that it would re-evaluate the current K53 learner's test.

What are your thoughts on the proposed amendments? Email us or reach us via Facebook  and Twitter.

REVAMP ON WAY: The K53 learner's manual is set to be revamped in the near future. Image: iStock

Transporting children on bakkies

Lawyer Alta Swanepoel, of Swanepoel and Associates CC, explains: "The existing provision prohibits transport for reward already and the distinction is to continue making it illegal for scholar transport for reward but that other transport for reward will be allowed in the goods compartment if it complies with the NLTA (National Land Transport Act)."

What about proposed speed limits for heavy goods vehicles?

Swanepoel said: "The speed limit for goods vehicles with a GVM over 3500 kg up to 9000kg applies to all vehicles but the speed governers will only apply to the newly registered vehicles. These vehicles must also display a sticker with a '100' limit. "

'Hazardous practice'

According to Arrive Alive: "It appears that what has been closed was that the private operators using bakkies as a form of transport for scholars should end as scholars may not be transported "for reward" (i.e a paid service). It is not a total ban on scholars being transported on a bakkie but will force these 'scholar transporter' to use safer vehicles for such purposes.

"These vehicles were also often part of the hazardous practice of the overloading of bakkies with young learners.

"The stipulation with regards to speed governers are also aimed at those operating public transport and heavy goods vehicles and might assist towards greater safety of our commuters on buses and minibus taxis."

Revamping the K53

The K53 manual for driver’s and learner’s licence tests is getting an overhaul, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has said.

The review would include updates and improvements suggested by examiners, the driving school industry, and the general public, she said in reply to a parliamentary question from DA MP Manny de Freitas, and which was published on Monday (November 21).

The code 10 test for heavy motor vehicles such as buses and trucks would be reviewed, to ensure people did not choose it because it was easier than the code 8 test for light motor vehicles.

READ: K53 manual revamp - 'It's long overdue'

A driver technical committee, which was responsible for all driver-related standards, processes and procedures, was finalising proposals. The amendments would be published in the Government Gazette for public comment. Once the comments had been reviewed, the manuals would be published.

Workshops would be held across the country, and consultations would involve the transport department, the driver technical committee, driving schools, instructors, and any other interested parties.

What are your thoughts on the proposed amendments? Email us or reach us via Facebook  and Twitter.

Justice Project South Africa chairman Howard Dembovsky says: 'One of the biggest problems in South Africa is that anyone can teach learner drivers to drive, whether it’s your brother, sister, mother, father, aunt or uncle, and they teach new drivers their own bad habits, which adds to the ever-growing pool of not-so competent drivers.”

"Some driving instructors will disagree with me, but the K53 does not cater for realistic defensive driving techniques, as well as modern advancements in new vehicles such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS), park distance control, assisted hill start, and the likes.”  

“The K53 revamp is long, long overdue. It was introduced in SA when it was being ditched by other countries, like the UK. And since then they have changed their driving licence requirements at least six or seven times. As long as the people ‘revamping’ the programme are experts, then we look forward to a more modern and more effective training regime.

"Whatever new driving (not driver’s) licence system approach results out of this will incorporate hazard perception testing since, judging by the way some people drive, and is evidenced by the SA’s unacceptably high road traffic crash, injury and mortality rates, is sorely lacking on our roads."


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