Bakkie laws don’t protect passengers

2008-10-28 00:00

It is surprising there weren’t more deaths in the accident that claimed four young lives on Sunday.

This was the sobering view of Gary Ronald, spokesman for the Automobile Association (AA), as he reflected on the circumstances of the tragic accident that has rocked the Pietermaritzburg community.

The accident occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning when a bakkie loaded with 12 passengers crashed on the N3 near the Market Road off-ramp. The occupants were flung out of the vehicle, resulting in four deaths and seven injuries.

Concerns have been raised that the vehicle may have been overloaded and that the tyres of the vehicle did not match.

Ronald spoke out against South Africa’s road law, which makes it legal for people to be transported in open vehicles.

He said that the practice of carrying people on the back of a bakkie has been accepted “since bakkies were invented” and that it is a convenient way for workers to be transported, but one that all too often ends in fatal consequences.

According to the Arrive Alive website, there are no safety requirements protecting passengers on the back of a bakkie, except for the height of the sides. The number of people that may be carried is not limited.

“If we had to take road safety seriously, we should ban the transportation of people on open vehicles,” said Ronald.

He added that if a bakkie that had a canopy was in an accident and rolled, the canopy would invariably separate from the body of the bakkie and the same scenario would occur, in that people would be flung out.

“The fibreglass of the canopy shatters,” he said.

Commenting on allegations of mistmatching tyres, Ronald said that in dry weather, this would not pose too much of a problem, but in wet conditions, it becomes dangerous.

“In dry weather, the grip is not affected much, but in wet weather each tyre has a different way of displacing the water,” he said.

Ronald also expressed concern about the fact that there were 12 people on the vehicle.

“Supposing there were even three people in the front: this would mean the driver was squashed up and probably could not control the vehicle properly — especially when he lost control. It would have been a tight squeeze.”

He said that 12 adults meant that the bakkie was probably near its weight limit.

“If you work on 65 kg per person, with 12 people this would affect handling and braking performance.”

Ronald cautioned that with the upcoming festive season parties, more young people will die in road accidents.

The driver of the bakkie was found to be sober when tested after the crash. Four counts of culpable homicide have been opened, but no one has been charged. Police are investigating the alleged overloading and roadworthiness of the bakkie.

Seven passengers were injured and four, including two matric pupils, were killed.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.