Truck licence rules to change

2010-11-20 00:00

LOCAL driving school operators have welcomed amendments to driver’s licence regulations that will prevent drivers who opt to take the “easier” C1 test for medium commercial vehicles from driving passenger cars.

Operators said the amendments will have a detrimental effect on their businesses, but they believe they will be worthwhile if they can bring a change to the dangerous driving patterns on the roads.

The amendments will come into effect countrywide on February 1.

The new law will not apply to existing licence-holders and those who obtain their licences before 1 February 2011. Acting chief director of road transport regulation John Motsatsing reportedly said many people pass the C1 licence, but then drive only light vehicles, for which a B licence is required. He said people apply for C1 because it is easier to pass than the B licence.

“C1 drivers driving the correct vehicles are in the minority. The amendment is aimed at improving road safety in the country. Some people pass their test in C1 grade (eight-ton truck) and then drive a light motor vehicle without having practised to drive and control the latter. This creates safety risks that we want to avoid,” Motsatsing reportedly said.

He said truck drivers who drive light motor vehicles privately will be obliged to have two licences after the amendment comes into effect.

Businessman and truck owner Thami Mthethwa said it is not fair for truck drivers to start afresh doing B licences. “Back then I had my Code 8 on my ID book and when the card system was phased in, I got my Code 14 card, leaving the licence on the ID invalid,” said Mthethwa.

Vikash Maharaj of City Driving School in Longmarket Street said: “People needed to embrace this initiative. Honestly, we don’t get good drivers because people obtain C1 licences to operate light motor vehicles”.

He has had about 800 applicants for C1 and about 250 for B licences this year. The department has issued 50 000 C1 licences and far fewer B licences this year. — WR.

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