Rewind 2022: Trucks are a threat on SA roads, causing deadly accidents

Published Jan 5, 2023


Johannesburg – Road freight is a common mode of transport for goods across the country, however it is also one of the biggest threats to South African roads, causing deadly accidents that have claimed many lives almost daily.

Reckless driving, inadequate truck driving skills, exhaustion and failed brakes are among some of the reasons believed to be behind these deadly accidents.

In 2022, there were many accidents which were reported involving trucks.

These were only a few out of many other horrifying incidents that we have seen on the roads throughout this year with multiple fatalities.

In November, six people were killed on the R55 in Clydesdale, near Umzimkhulu, in KwaZulu-Natal when a truck pulling a trailer was involved in a head-on collision with a passenger vehicle.

Also in November, five adults and four children died on the scene in another crash involving an articulated truck and a Toyota Venture on the N1 between Mookgophong and Mokopane in Limpopo.

Also in November, seven people were killed in a crash between a truck and a long distance coach on the N8 near Bloemfontein, at the Botshabelo turn-off in the Free State, while three passengers were critically injured, 19 sustained moderate injuries and 32 had minor injuries.

Six people were killed in a horror crash while two more were rushed to hospital by paramedics at the scene, on the R56 in uMzimkhulu on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast on Thursday, 11 November 2022.

These are only just a few of the tragedies that occurred on the roads during the month of November and the horror unfortunately continues, with multiple incidents still being reported in the month of December.

KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube is among those trying to curb truck accidents, following a series of accidents in the province.

Dube-Ncube has revealed that the government is exploring ways to end road carnage involving trucks, after 7 people died near Isipingo in a multiple vehicle crash involving a truck.

The interventions that will be explored include enforcing a curfew on freight trucks and redirecting vehicles to less busy roads. We are also engaging with the freight and logistics industry because our roads cannot be turned into mass grave sites and places of untimely deaths.

“We recently launched an Integrated Safety Month and Festive Season campaign, which seeks to promote safety on the road and in communities. There will be heightened visibility in all corners of our province including integrated crime prevention and crime combating operations on roads, communities, ports of entry and the border line. The success of this plan is dependent on the proactive work by law enforcement to reduce road crashes and levels of crime in our communities,” said Dube-Ncube.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has also shared nine points detailing measures that he and his department will be implementing, in a written response to a question posed to him on the increasing accidents involving trucks, in November.

These plans include:

– A national integrated plan identifying hazardous routes in each province has been developed and law enforcement operations are to be held along these routes by provincial and municipal traffic departments.

– Mobile vehicle-testing equipment will also be deployed along the routes to test the roadworthiness of trucks.

– Block patrols are to be intensified to ensure that drivers conduct themselves appropriately and drive with due consideration for other road users.

– The National Traffic Police will be deployed to assist provinces in areas where there is insufficient capacity.

He said his department is working hand in hand with the Department of Public Enterprises to move cargo from road to rail, in the hope that this will take pressure off road freight.

The National Prosecuting Authority has dedicated prosecutors who will lead investigations into truck and bus crashes on routes as part of the government’s strategy to curb these incidents during the festive season, according to an announcement made by Mbalula earlier this month.

“Multidisciplinary law-enforcement operations will be conducted over the festive season to stop and check trucks and buses for roadworthiness on these routes as part of a nationwide operation.

“Traffic authorities will also use the automatic number plate recognition technology to determine if trucks and buses travelling on the identified routes comply with road regulations,” Mbalula said.