Traffic authorities are concerned about the number of overloaded heavy-duty trucks. Picture: David Ritchie African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The City’s traffic services raised concerns on Wednesday over the number of heavy-duty trucks that are flouting the provisions of the National Road Traffic Act, which imposes limits on the load a truck is allowed to carry.

Safety and Security mayoral committee member JP Smith said the act was there to ensure that trucks did not pose a hazard to other road users or cause damage to road infrastructure.

Smith said traffic services, with their provincial counterparts, were responsible for any enforcement required. “So, officers will be at the weighbridges, but also take trucks for testing if they come across any that look suspicious while out on patrol”.

He said apart from preventing serious accidents including containers falling off container transport vehicles, there was also the importance of ensuring that overloaded vehicles did not damage the road surface, as this reduced the safety of the road for everybody and caused high levels of road maintenance costs.

The City has three weigh stations: at the N7 near Vissershok, Joostenberg Vlakte and in Somerset West.

These stations or weighbridges are used to check abnormal loads and whether drivers are operating within the conditions of their permits.

“The weighbridges are manned by a service provider appointed by the Western Cape Transport Department. They capture vehicle information like the area of origin, where it is headed, what the cargo is and so forth.

“Staff also check the vehicle in terms of the Road Transport Quality System and weigh the vehicle to check compliance with the provisions of the Road Traffic Act,” Smith said.

He said the maximum fine that could be imposed for overloaded trucks was R5000.

“For serious transgressions, drivers are arrested and taken to court, where a magistrate decides the appropriate sanction. Also, any truck that is found to be overloaded cannot proceed until enough of the load is removed to make it compliant.

“So, while the fines might appear modest, the inconvenience to trucking companies and the potential impact on their bottom line provides some solace.”

He said many trucks fell through the cracks, as enforcement staff had to deal with all manner of road safety priorities.

Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said road freight was the lifeblood of the Western Cape’s economy, transporting more than 80% of general freight in the province.

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Cape Argus