OPINION | Does the Minister of Transport really give a HOOT about SA's road safety?

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Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula encouraging South Africans to participate in the latest road safety campaign called HOOT.
Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula encouraging South Africans to participate in the latest road safety campaign called HOOT.
Department of Transport - Minister of Transport |M

• Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has been promoting a new road safety campaign.
• The campaign encourages drivers to hoot daily at 12pm to show their support.
• Wheels24 reader Lloyd Castle questions this campaign as it goes against actual law. 
• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.



It is that time of year again when those tasked with road safety need to show us that they are doing something about the carnage on our roads. Campaigns abound, and we are treated to commentary around ALL that is being done to make us safer this festive season. 

In traditional style, a festive season campaign has again been launched, and it is called "HOOT for road safety". All the stakeholders are on board it seems, from the Minister of Transport to the RTMC, and Arrive Alive. "Great", you say, "something is being done! They are pulling out all the stops!" Or, are they? 

READ | Why are motorists misled with extensions when they are not compelled to renew licence cards?

If the HOOT campaign is an initiative aimed at improving road safety, then should it not be promoting voluntary compliance with and adherence to the provisions of the National Road Traffic Act and its Regulations? 

The Minister of Transport, as you will know, is the person with the legal power to make regulations in terms of Sec 75 of the National Road Traffic Act. The regulations he may make include the regulation of the use of hooters and warning devices on vehicles, as well as excessive noise emanating from cars.

Currently, those regulations state in Regulation 310. Vehicle causing excessive noise:

"No person shall operate or permit to be operated on a public road a vehicle in such a manner as to cause any excessive noise which can be avoided by the exercise of reasonable care on his or her part."

And in respect of the use of hooters...

Regulation 310A. Use of hooter currently states:

"No person shall on a public road use the sounding device or hooter of a vehicle except when such use is necessary in order to comply with the provisions of these regulations or on the grounds of safety.

Having actually looked for it, I find no provisions of the Act or its Regulations which would require the use of the hooter or warning device other than "on the grounds of safety" which I interpret to mean "TO AVOID A COLLISION!"

I am therefore doubtful that HOOTING because we WANT road safety, qualifies as "on the grounds of road safety." 

I am, however, confused as to the wisdom of calling on motorists to break the law, to achieve road safety, the achievement of which, my logic dictates would depend on adherence to the rules.

That said, and in the interests of fairness, has anyone seen any new regulation, recently published by the Minister which changes or extends the legal use of a hooter or warning device to allow this campaign to be lawful? If so, then I am entirely incorrect and unconditionally apologise.

If not, then surely actively encouraging motorists to disobey the traffic rules is counter-productive and should be actively discouraged by the very Minister initiating this HOOT campaign.  

But, I return to my original question, does the Minister really give a HOOT?

Disclaimer: Wheels24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of contributors, columnists or readers published on Wheels24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24 or Wheels24.

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