Tough new laws to curb road carnage

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Independent Newspapers

Authorities are hoping that stringent new laws will curb road carnage, particularly that involving buses and trucks. File photo: Netcare911

Motorists convicted of traffic offences will soon be barred from applying for professional driver’s permits – which allow them to drive vehicles ferrying passengers or goods – for four years.

The same applies to motorists who have paid fines and an admission of guilt. And vehicles that are 10 years or older will be required to undergo roadworthy tests every two years.

These are just some of the stringent traffic laws revealed yesterday by the Department of Transport when presenting its progress report to Parliament’s portfolio committee on transport yesterday.

This comes as the government tries to clamp down on wayward motorists to curb the road carnage.

The road traffic accident rate remains dismal by global standards. In January, the Road Traffic Management Corporation announced that the death toll over the festive season was 1279.

The country had failed to make any significant improvement since 2009, when a global status report on road safety, published by the World Health Organisation, ranked it third from last on road deaths. This was proportional to the country’s population, with 33.2 road deaths per 100 000 people.

Yesterday, the committee announced tough traffic laws proposed to curb road accidents, which cost the country’s economy billions every year. The laws, to be gazetted by the end of next month, are to be implemented in terms of the Traffic Act of 1996.

Under the proposed regulations, vehicles that are 10 years and older would be required to undergo roadworthiness tests before they could be certified every 24 months. This would, however, exclude vintage vehicles.

Questions were raised about the shortage of testing stations to effectively conduct the tests, which could result in long waiting periods and increased corruption.

“We are currently addressing the issue of the availability of testing stations to ensure that there are no unintended consequences such as fraud and corruption,” said John Motsatsing, the director of road traffic legislation and standards.

LONG ARM OF LAW EXTENDED

- People intending to apply for driving licences for an articulated vehicle, or a combination of a vehicle and a trailer, will do the practical test while the trailer is attached to a vehicle drawing it or the truck tractor.

- Prohibit any person from operating any vehicles registered for the first time on or after July 1990, if it is fitted with an anti-theft device that interferes with the vehicle’s braking system.

- A motor vehicle deregistered as permanently demolished cannot be re-registered and its parts cannot be used to build or repair any vehicle.

- Allow an examiner of vehicles to also test vehicles issued with a motor trade plate for the purpose of certifying such vehicles as roadworthy – current provisions prohibit that.

- Impose driving-time limits for drivers of certain classes and compel drivers or vehicle owners to record the driving time and prescribe the duties to be followed. The drivers or owners would also be required to provide proof of vehicle maintenance, which is to be produced by a recording device.

- Vehicles manufactured after December 2013 to be fitted with a metal plate or a self-adhesive, tamper-proof metal or plastic label displaying a vehicle’s imprinted or stamped identification number. -The Star


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