New road rules for SA: What's going on with the speed limit?

<B>NEW SPEED LIMITS:</B> The Department of Transport could implement new speed limits in SA later in 2017. <i>Image: iStock</i>
<B>NEW SPEED LIMITS:</B> The Department of Transport could implement new speed limits in SA later in 2017. <i>Image: iStock</i>

Johannesburg - In recent months a fair amount of concern has been expressed by motorists due to proposed changes to road regulations which will affect most drivers on the road.

Draft regulations, intended to reduce road carnage, include lower speed limits, the banning of transporting children in a bakkie's load bay and restricting the use of heavy vehicles on public roads.

When will these laws be implemented? According to the Department of Transport, however, motorists can expect them to come into effect during the course of 2017. 

There is also no longer anything drivers can do to protest these changes. The comment period for the proposal was during 2015 and no further comments will be accepted. 

The draft regulations, published in the 2015 Government Gazette, propose these 5 changes to legislation:

 1 Drivers to be re-evaluated when renewing a licence;
 2 No more than five people to be carried in a bakkie load bed;
 3 Children not to be transported in a bakkie load bed;
 4 Speed limits to be reduced from 60 to 40km/h in urban areas, from 100 to 80km/h in rural areas and from 120 to 100km/h on freeways running through a residential area;
 5 Goods vehicles above 9000kg GVM to be banned from public roads  during peak travelling times.

Speed limit changes

We look at potential changes to speed limits and what it means for you.

Changes to the speed limit is one area where some of the most concern is being raised. According to lawyer Alta Swanepoel and Associates, the proposed changes will affect all motorists.

She said: “The proposal changes the speed limit from 60km/h to 40km/h and from 100km/h to 80km/h in urban areas. This applies to everyone.”

What are your thoughts on the proposed speed limits? Email us or reach us via Facebook  and Twitter.

While the limits have not yet been changed for motor vehicles this is not so for mid-sized commercial vehicles.

Swanepoel said: “A speed reduction for goods vehicles with a gross vehicle mass between 3 500kg and 9 000kg is already in effect. The proposal was added on 11 November 2016. The maximum speed limit is now 100km/h for these vehicles.” 
According to the MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, this could present problems for fleet operators. “While speeding presents a major challenge for safety on our roads, changing these limits could present challenges for fleet managers in terms of delivery times and meeting targets. Additionally, we need to question whether these changes will have the desired effect.
“Will the drivers who currently disregard the speed limit, adhere to the new ones? Another challenge with crashes, where speed has an influence, is because often drivers do not differentiate their speed to the current conditions. We need to ask if a change to the speed limit will address these challenges?” 

Readers respond

Gary: "Speed does not kill, people kill. Driver's are not educated for the rules of the roads. Far too many vehicles on the roads due to over population. No road discipline public and officers of the law inclusive. SA should be made alcohol free. And that would cut down road deaths by 95%."

Gerko: "Another rule required would be that the existing rules should be enforced. Cars driving in the emergency lane, cars driving against the oncoming lane traffic, un-roadworthy vehicles transporting passengers, stops treat like circles and so on has to be dealt with. Having the rules in place without policing thereof means nothing."

Barry Soulsby: If the existing traffic laws were to be enforced, it would be a major step in the right direction.
Very few drivers obey the Rules of the Road, stop streets mean nothing , indicators mean nothing. Cell phones are extensively being used, Robot controlled intersections , especially at the end of the Freeways in tTown.
Traffic Police drive "past " these infringements all the time and do nothing. Peak hour traffic is a nightmare.

Denys Bothas: Classic example is Olifantsfontein linking to N14. When you turn off the R55 driving west towards Diepsloot, you start off at 60km/h then 80km/h and in the most dangerous part it is 100km/h. So traffic officials collect every day.

Lucille Hendricks: I think it won't stop people and taxi drivers at all. I'm on the road everyday with my kids. Taxi drivers make their own rules on d road, driving in the yellow lines and driving on the other side of the road. Reducing speed limit of the roads it will never change there mind sets because they want to make money.

James Mackenzie: It’s not speed that kills, it’s a total disregarding of road rules/discipline done at speed that kills. 
What about:
1. Skipping stop streets and robots,
2. Overtaking on a solid white lines (head-on collusions),
3. Over loading of vehicles (taxis, ldvs and trucks),
4. Vehicles not roadworthy (lights not working, tyres, not licenced, no number plates),
5. Stopping anywhere to load/off load passengers,
6. Carrying passengers at back of ldvs and trucks without protection (open),
7. Talking/texting on mobile phones,
8. Slow traffic in fast lanes,
9. Driving in emergency lanes,
10. Driving with fog lights on when not required (especially rear fog lights which are very bright and makes it difficult to determine when braking.)
Seems this is taking the easy way out to try and prevent accidents because it only requires a camera or radar. With the issues mentioned above they need to get up and go out a\to the field and do their job. Reducing the speed limit alone won’t prevent/reduce accidents and is just going to cause more frustration and disregard of other road rules!

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