More than 14 000 people die on South African roads every year, but opinions on how to fix this vary.
Johannesburg – There are no new speed-limit reductions on South African roads, but the controversial proposal is on the table and will be open for public comment.

The same applies to a contentious proposed law that would oblige drivers to redo their driving tests when renewing their licences.

Reacting to public confusion that these proposed new laws were already being implemented, Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) confirmed these were draft amendments for now.

Transport spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said that the following proposed regulations, first brought to light in 2015, would be open for public comment within the coming months, with the idea that the rules would be implemented officially within the next year:

- Drivers will have to undergo a practical re-evaluation when renewing a licence.

- A complete review and revamp of the current K53 test.

- Speed limits to be reduced from 60km/h 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

- Goods vehicles above 9000kg GVM to be banned from public roads during peak travelling times.

“If/when these and/or any other draft amendments are published for comment, JPSA will be sure to make the appropriate submissions,” says JPSA’s Howard Dembovsky.

The JPSA has also criticised the Department of Transport for introducing an amendment to Regulation 250 of the National Road Traffic Regulations.

It is changed from “no person shall on a public road carry any person for reward in the goods compartment of a motor vehicle” to “no person shall, on a public road, convey school children in the goods compartment of a motor vehicle for reward”, which will come into effect on 11 May 2017.

The JPSA says that instead of enhancing road safety, it imposes no prohibition on carrying people on the back of bakkies when no fee is charged.

As for the proposed speed limit reductions to be tabled for public comment, Dembovsky says South Africa has very good traffic laws that aren’t being properly enforced, resulting in more than 14 000 people dying on our roads each year.

“The improper enforcement of speed limits is far from the only problem we face on our roads,” Dembovsky adds.

“Traffic law enforcement is not practised consistently, ethically and in the interests of road safety. Instead there is more than ample evidence that it focusses primarily on revenue generation. Until this changes, no amount of new laws, misinformation on what laws do actually exist and threats of extended incarceration without bail are going to have any effect.”