THE URGENT NEED TO ESTABISH A NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTATION IN SOUTH AFRICA (NHTSSA)
The following two recent accident highlights the above urgent need:
Horror Pinetown Crash Footage -
Death toll rises in KZN bus crash –
In 7 investigations currently under investigation by TAR Services, it was established that some defects exist with certain vehicle manufacturer models in SA . They are identified as safety related failure defects.
These failures are considered as defects that can cause accidents due to the loss of vehicle control. They are in most cases not detected by the road worthy test centers, some defects are very difficult to detect because of the nature of the design and defect itself. We are of the opinion that these types of failures should, once detected, be controlled by a comprehensive rectification program to be established as a matter of urgency within SA on a national basis.
Defects that were discovered included the following:
- Balljoints dislodgement.
- Steering lever failure.
- Hand-brake air tank capacity inefficiency.
- Slack adjuster, adjustment and maintenance inefficiency.
- Gradual hand-brake valve, position incorrectly fitted.
A comprehensive report is currently being drafted by TAR Services that will be submitted to the South African Government by the end of this week.
Establishment of the NHTSSA
This administration must be established by an Act and fall directly under the National Department of Transport.
These will include the following
The University of Stellenbosch, Department Traffic Safety Engineering.
The National Department of Transport.
The National Prosecution Authority (NPA).
South African National Standards
The NHTSSA will be responsible for reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. This will be accomplished by setting and enforcing safety performance standards for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment.
The NHTSSA will investigate safety defects in motor vehicles. They will encourage complaints from vehicle owners and drivers, conducts defect investigations and administer safety recalls.
In other countries, manufacturers voluntarily initiate many of these recalls, but in South Africa, these recall will have to be ordered by the NHTSSA investigations via the courts. If a safety defect is discovered, the manufacturer must notify the NHTSSA, as well as vehicle or equipment owners, dealers, and distributors. The manufacturer is then required to remedy the problem at no charge to the owner. The NHTSSA will be responsible for monitoring the manufacturer’s corrective action to ensure successful completion of the recall campaign.
When will a recall necessary?
- When a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment (including tires) does not comply with a SANS Standard.
- When there is a safety-related defects in the vehicle or equipment.
SANS set minimum performance requirements for those parts of the vehicle that most affect its safe operation (brakes, tyres, lighting) or that protect drivers and passengers from death or serious injury in the event of a crash (air bags, safety belts, child restraints, energy absorbing steering columns, motorcycle helmets).
What Is a safety-related defect?
The performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident, and includes nonoperational safety of a motor vehicle.” A defect includes “any defect in performance, construction, a component, or material of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment.” Generally, a safety defect is defined as a problem that exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment that:
- poses an risk to motor vehicle safety, and
- may exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture, or items of equipment of the same type and manufacture.
Examples of defects considered safety-related
- Steering components that break suddenly causing partial or complete loss of vehicle control.
- Accelerator controls that may break or stick.
- Critical vehicle components that break, fall apart, or separate from the vehicle, causing potential loss of vehicle control or injury to persons inside or outside the vehicle.
We welcome any comments or support of the above.
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