Town Hill crash traffic chaos

2013-05-31 00:00

TWELVE — that’s the number of crashes involving trucks on the N3 between Van Reenen’s Pass and Durban in the last seven days, say traffic officials.

Pietermaritzburg’s Town Hill is notorious for such crashes.

Yesterday there was another crash that resulted in the closure of the N3 for several hours.

Five people were injured when a truck and a minibus collided on the N3 southbound on Town Hill.

Three people in the minibus were injured. The other casualties were the truck driver and his passenger.

Traffic officers, who are not authorised to speak to the media, believe the truck’s brakes failed as it came down Town Hill and rear-ended the minibus.

The truck driver lost control after the impact and veered off the road, plunging about 20 metres down the embankment.

Vanessa Jackson of ER24 said the driver of the truck was trapped inside the cab and the container broke open, spilling a load of corn on to the road.

The accident occurred at around 4 am but the road was closed until lunchtime.

Traffic was backed up past Hilton and cars were diverted at the Cedara off-ramp and through the city via Old Howick Road.

Traffic officers said most of the accidents on Townhill happened because drivers failed to obey the rules of the road.

There are two compulsory truck stops, one near Hilton and the other near the arrester bed just before Town Hill. These are to slow the trucks down and to make them engage a lower gear.

At the second compulsory stop the driver has the option — if he feels the truck is struggling — to drive into the arrester bed.

Said a traffic officer: “What normally happens, especially when there are no police officers in that area, is that the drivers just don’t stop.

“Then their brakes heat up and are under pressure and they fail to control the truck.

“In some cases they come down speeding, and if the truck is coming down the hill with a load and gravity pushing it down, it will be difficult to control and their brakes fail; nine out of 10 times the accident in that lane is caused by brake failure.”

Attempts to get comment from the Transport Department yesterday were unsuccessful.


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