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In 2015 draft Regulations were published in the Government Gazette relating to possible changes to our National Road Traffic Regulations in South Africa. As with most laws implemented by Government, it is a long and tedious process and the public cannot expect regulations to just change overnight.

However, it would seem as if we have gathered some speed on the issue as some of possible changes have started to take effect.

Even though several changes were proposed, the followed are of utmost importance to the general public.

  1. A complete re-evaluation of a driver’s ability to drive when renewing his or her licenses.
  2. No more than 5 people to be carried on a bakkie’s load bed.
  3. Children to not be transported in a bakkie’s load bed.
  4. Speed limits to be reduces as follows:
    1. From 60km/h to 40km/h in urban areas
    2. From 100km/h to 80km/h in rural areas
    3. From 120km/h to 100km/h on freeways (only running through residential areas)
  5. Goods vehicles with a weight of more than 9 tons not be allowed on public roads during peak traffic times.

In November 2016 two amendments were published in the Government Gazette under No. 40420 and under the watchful leys of the Minister of Transport, Dipua Peters. The amendments are as follows:

  1. 1.Regulation of children in the loading bay of a bakkie

The regulation (250 (1)) now states that no children may be transported in the loading bay of a bakkie for remuneration.

While many people welcome this amended regulation, this is a major cause for concern for others in especially the rural communities. In these communities, many people are at the mercy of other people with the means of transporting their children to school from farms or settlements. For these individuals they have no alternative but to pay the friendly community helpful with 2.3 Isuzu to get their children to where they need to be.

Note that the regulations (250(2)) also prohibits the transporting of any person in the loading bay of a bakkie. It is important to note however that there is an exception for some vehicles. These vehicles would be the vehicles that comply with the National Land Transport Act. However this regulation specifically prohibits people from transporting scholars. The exception will therefore not be applicable to the transporting of scholars. Therefore you are still able to transport for remuneration any other people as long as you have applied for and paid for the required permit.

What is somewhat confusing is that it would seem as if you are still able to transport any person, including scholars, without remuneration. How would this benefit the community? Another aspect that is somewhat confusing is that the maximum amount of people on the back of a bakkie is not regulated either. Again one has to ask the question, how is the community protected by these regulations?

  1. 2.A Speed limit on vehicles with a gross weight of between 3.5 tons and 9 tons.(293(iv))

All vehicle that fall within this category, will now have to be fitted with speed limiters on registration of the vehicle. These vehicles will not be allowed to travel at speeds exceeding 100km per hour. It is also compulsory for these vehicles to be fitted with a 100km/h yellow sign at the rear of the vehicle in order to inform motorists accordingly. It is important that road users are informed of these new regulations in order to avoid frustration.

Other proposals and what the future holds

There were also suggestions by the department to completely revamp the K53 handbook. According to the minister, the handbook has not kept track of the changes in technology like ABS, park distance control and launch assist.

Many criticise the minister’s proposal as laws are there to protect the general public. As many of these new technologies are not standard on vehicles they find it puzziling that this should now be viewed as standard and millions of Rands now have to be spent on this proposed revamp. If one reads these possible amendments with the proposed amendment of the re-evaluation of a driver’s ability to drive when renewing his or her license, one may be left with and administrative nightmare at traffic departments in South Africa.

It would seem as if these other proposed amendments will placed under the microscope during 2017 and 2018 and the public is urged to keep an eye on the topic through news reports. They are furthermore urged to not fall for any roomers and falls claims by third parties. You are welcome to contact the AA for clarity on the subject.

The goal of all these proposed amendments is to give South African citizens a safer road. While many of the proposals seem logical in theory, the practical implementation of same may be somewhat tricky. Only time will tell what the future holds, but until then, drive safe.

Sources

www.foresightpublications.co.za

Amendment 1408 of the NATIONAL ROAD TRAFFIC ACT, 1996 (ACT NO. 93 OF 1996)

www.wheels24.co.za

www.fanews.co.za

www.jp-sa.org