Radical plan to curb the carnage on South African roads
Some of the regulations include the retesting of drivers every five years when renewing their licences.
Spokesperson for the RTMC Simon Zwane said that the rising number of vehicle crashes and deaths on the roads called for a complete overhaul of driving regulations to be discussed.
“At this point, these are still ideas internally that we are discussing but we will be revising the K53 manual with the Department of Transport and will see how we move forward with these suggestions,” Zwane said.
The compulsory test for motorists renewing their driver’s licences was one of the major changes tabled by the RTMC. Zwane said that under the new law, motorists will have to redo the driver’s license test every five years. Current regulations require motorists to renew their licenses every five years - the only test required is an eye test.
“People pick up negative driving habits after they get their licences and don’t always follow the rules of the road as strictly as they should,” he said during an interview on CapeTalk radio station.
The RTMC also want restrictions to be placed on new drivers, such as a probation period where new drivers need to be accompanied by an experienced driver in the first six months after passing their driving test.
The newly qualified motorists will also be restricted from making long road trips. These trips are defined as being over 150km, with the restriction lasting for a full year upon receiving a valid driver’s license.
The RTMC has also proposed additional testing regulations related specifically to truck, bus and taxi drivers.
Zwane told the radio station that trucks causing collisions were a concern for the RTMC and proposed that motorists will not be allowed to obtain a heavy-truck licence if they do not already have a car licence.
He said that since the start of the festive season, there have been 38 crashes and 44 fatalities, involving trucks, on the country’s roads.
The DA spokesperson on transport Manny de Freitas welcomed the RTMC’s proposal saying it was “long overdue”.
“It is all well to make these changes but more needs to be changed, especially regarding corruption,” he said.
Founder and director of South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD), Caro Smit said she was happy talks of changes to regulations were occurring.
Smit said that the RTMC should go further with their probation for new drivers and ban them from driving at night and with too many passengers. She said that if they were caught speeding or under the influence of alcohol, their licences should be revoked for a year and they should be retested.
She suggested that learner drivers should have a minimum of 100 hours driving time before being allowed to book for their driver’s licence test.
“I also think that trucks, buses and minibus taxis should have an alcohol ignition interlock, where the drivers have to do a breathalyser before they start the vehicle,” she said.
Smit suggested the RTMC look at countries like Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada for a model to follow.