Hino South Africa was once again a major partner of a Brake and Tyre Watch event, an initiative which aims to improve trucking road safety.
It was a joint venture with Hino Pinetown and the project’s traditional partners which recently took place at the RTI Pinetown Testing Station in KwaZulu-Natal. The event proved a revelation about the roadworthiness of trucks, particularly for the staff from Hino Pinetown and some of their fleet customers who attended the two-day event.
The first day was spent in a classroom session at the eThekwini Electricity Training Centre, where traffic officials were trained.
“Training is the key of this initiative,” said road safety champion Patrick O’Leary, of Fleetwatch. “It is very difficult for these officials to evaluate a vehicle’s brakes and tyres when they are stopped in a roadblock if they do not know what to look for and how the various braking systems work.”
“New braking systems are continually being introduced into the latest model trucks coming onto the local market so traffic officials need to be updated on an ongoing basis. Training is provided free of charge by our partners from the industry,” explained O’Leary.
The second day was a hands-on test day at the weighbridge. Randomly-selected trucks were stopped and put through a brake roller test, while all trucks were checked in the pit for trailer defects and other faults on the truck itself, such as faulty lights. Four of the six vehicles checked were taken off the road as being unroadworthy,
This was the 38th occasion that Patrick O’Leary and his team, in conjunction with partners from the industry, had staged a Brake & Tyre Watch roadside safety check.
“This was the second time that Hino and its dealers have given direct support to the Brake & Tyre Watch project and we are pleased to be involved in this initiative to make our roads safer,” said Ernie Trautmann, the Vice President of Hino SA.
“It was certainly disturbing to learn that four of the six trucks checked were unroadworthy and we believe that the authorities need to be far more proactive in conducting their own roadblocks linked to brake and tyre checks. The praiseworthy Fleetwatch programme, by its nature, cannot be a national watchdog, but is rather a dipstick to highlight the high number of unroadworthy trucks on our roads.”
Through the ongoing Brake & Tyre Watch campaign to test truck roadworthiness, 70 percent of the trucks tested have been discontinued and taken off the road so far. It's a "horrendous and unacceptable failure rate," says O'Leary.
The horrific truck accident which claimed four lives in Alberton in 2014, along with the one in Pinetown in 2013 which killed 24 people, are stark reminders of the carnage that a single truck can cause. In both cases the trucks were unroadworthy and had faulty brakes.