This comes after the DoT earlier this month introduced for public comment new regulations that seek to reduce the speed limit in residential areas from 60km/h to 40km/h ; from 100km/h to 80km/h outside urban areas; and from 120km/h to 100km/h on freeways that pass through residential areas.
Transport minister Dipuo Peters said in a statement that these proposed regulations aim “to make our roads safer”.
She also announced earlier in January this month that road fatalities stood at 1714 during the recent holiday season, an increase of five percent from the previous reporting period.
But AA South Africa spokesperson Layton Beard said they would like to see amendments that balance the interests of road safety with protecting the economic activity that happens on the road, adding they felt the current speed limits were sufficient for promoting both road safety and economic activity.
According to Beard, the problem lay in what he referred to as the inefficiency of law enforcement agencies to enforce effectively the existing laws relating to speed limits.
“We need to enforce the existing laws better," he said. "So, where you have a situation where the existing speed limit is 100km/h and people are going at 110km/h , that needs to be enforced a lot better than it is enforced at the moment.
“You can have every road in South Africa and say that you can only travel at 60km/*h on it, but we know that even if that would happen, people will still go at 80km/h , 100km/h and 120km/h . People won't necessarily heed what the speed limit is, and the reason for that is that there isn't effective policing of existing speed laws."
Bakkie transport to be banned
Another regulation, which will come into effect in May 2017, relates to the total ban on transporting schoolchildren in the goods compartment of a bakkie, as well as curbing the number of people who are transported at the back of a goods vehicle to five - provided they are employees travelling to work, according to the department of transport.
Peters said the “transportation of learners to their respective schools has always been a key challenge confronting the government. The development of this learner transport policy aims to address the challenges of accessibility and the safety of learners”.
Beard said AA South Africa welcomed the new regulation relating to the ban on bakkie transportation for schoolchildren, as well as the limits on worker transportation, saying it would go a long way to dealing with the deaths resulting from bakkie transportation.
“One of the big issues which will arise when this regulation is enacted is: What alternatives are there for those people who rely on this form of transport to get to and from school?” Beard asked.
“We aren’t dismissing the new regulation. But have we thought about what is going to happen to those families and workers who rely on bakkies to get to and from work?”