Proposed restriction for trucks

2015-05-05 06:00

The wreckage of the vehicle in which the late Collins Chabane, minister of public service and administration, had travelled when it reportedly crashed into a heavy vehicle in March outside Polokwane.


The wreckage of the vehicle in which the late Collins Chabane, minister of public service and administration, had travelled when it reportedly crashed into a heavy vehicle in March outside Polokwane. PHOTO: MARIETIE LOUW-CARSTENS

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In a move to curb South Africa’s appalling road death toll, transport minister Dipuo Peters is proposing restrictions for goods vehicles on public roads.

According to the department, the restrictions will affect commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeding 9000kg.

The intended regulations will be published for public comment and discussion later this year.

Reduce road deaths

“This intention is in response to the increase in the number of road accidents that ­involves goods vehicles on the South African roads,” Peters says.

The new regulations state: “No person shall operate on the public road a goods vehicle the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 9000kg from 17:00 to 20:00 Monday to Friday (except public holidays) and from 06:00 to 09:00 Monday to Friday (except public holidays).”

Essentially vehicles with a GVM of more than 9000kg can only operate on public roads from 09:00 to 16:00 and 20:00 to 06:00 during week days. There are, however, provisions for emergency service vehicles.

The department adds: “This provision shall not apply in case of emergencies, to the driver of a fire fighting vehicle, a fire fighting response vehicle, an emergency medical response vehicle, a rescue vehicle or an ambulance, who drives such vehicle in the performance of his or her duties, a traffic officer or a person appointed in terms of the South African Police Service Act of 1995, who drives a vehicle in the carrying out of his or her duties or any person driving a vehicle while responding to a disaster as contemplated in the Disaster Management Act of 2002.”

To be implemented 2015?

Transport department spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi states that the regulations are in draft form and will have to be presented to his party’s cabinet. It will be discussed in Parliament and will incorporate public input. He states that the department hopes to implement the proposed regulations by the end this year.

Affect freight industry

The proposed regulations could have a drastic affect on SA’s freight industry. How will commercial freight operators cope? What about companies that rely heavily on freight deliveries?

Gavin Kelly, technical and operations manager of the SA Road and Freight Association (RFA) says: “The proposed regulations are very worrying and underline the misconception that freight vehicles are the primary cause for incidents on the road.

“In the recent tragic crash involving minister Collins Chabane and a goods vehicle it is conveniently forgotten that the vehicle in which the minister was travelling appeared to have been travelling at more than 200km/h. However, the truck involved is seen as the cause of the crash.

“Why has the minister decided to restrict freight movement between the proposed times and on the proposed days? It is important that the minister provides the detail or information that supports such a proposal – and we await such.

“Has the minister researched the effect on traffic flow and the increase in safety over these hours (this surely is the foundation for her proposal)?”

Economy at risk

Kelly asks: “Has the minister determined the effect on freight movement, scheduling, delays and the resultant increase in freight movements between the proposed times of restricted movement? If so, could she please attach this to the proposed regulation changes she is planning to make?

“Has the minister calculated the effect this would have on the economy, and if so, we look forward to seeing this attached to the proposed regulations.”

‘Ill-conceived proposal’

“It is interesting that the proposed restrictions exclude public holidays and weekends. Is this because there are less light vehicles on the road and therefore the risk is less? Generally over these periods freight has reduced deliveries as many businesses would be closed. Freight cost would also increase over public holidays and weekends. Has the minister calculated this into her proposal?

“The proposed legislation is ill-conceived and not clearly thought through and will damage logistics, raising costs and will cause severe bottlenecks in the logistics chain.”

Arrive Alive responds

Arrive Alive’s Johan Jonck says: “We will have to wait for the draft regulations to be published. We understand the reasoning behind this. It cannot be denied that trucks often do contribute towards chaos on roads during peak traffic hours.

“It would also be important to consider the effect on traffic on our freeways (long distance open roads) when trucks usually travel during the times proposed. It could add significant volumes of trucks for road users to share the roads with outside of peak driving hours on our national roads.

“It will be even more important for drivers to be alert to the risks when sharing the roads with heavy vehicles and we will need to create further awareness on aspects such as safe overtaking, the risks of blind spot driving, the need for patience and the like.

“There will need to be much more consideration between the different modes of transport as more trucks are going to share roads outside of the ‘prohibited’ times. A long-term solution is that we need to make more use of rail for our transport and freight needs.”


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