According to the latest reports by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), South Africa could soon have new harsher road rules, all of which are aimed at curbing the high incidents of road accidents in our country.
Unfortunately, 2018 saw tremendous challenges for road users, given that the number of fatalities reported increased by 16% compared to the previous years. Transport Minister, Blade Nzimande, also recently revealed that the Festive season – which is infamously known to be a period of high fatality numbers on the country’s roads – saw over 767 people lose their lives during December alone. And, this was despite increased traffic policing during this period. With 86% of all road fatalities as a result of human error, the proposed changes to road rules are certainly needed to improve road safety.
The RTMC has proposed five new changes, ultimately aimed at promoting improved safety for all road users.
Some key things all motorists should note about these changes include:
• Those planning to renew their driver’s licence, will need to undertake a retest every five years. If accepted, this proposed new structure, will mean a full driver’s licence renewal process, whereas currently road users merely need to undertake an eye-test to renew their existing licence.
• Newly qualified drivers will not be allowed to make long trips for the first year, which will be defined as 150 kilometres and more.
• During the first 6-months after receiving a driver’s licence, newly qualified drivers, will need to be accompanied and supervised by an experienced driver.
• The RTMC also noted that most collisions have in fact been caused by trucks, in comparison to taxis. As a result, it has proposed that additional testing regulations be put in place for all commercial drivers (including truck, bus and taxi drivers). With this, stricter conditions are expected to be introduced to ensure the safety of passengers who use public transport.
• A driver that requires a heavy truck licence would need to first obtain a car/light motor vehicle (Code B) licence before being allowed to undertake the test for a heavy motor vehicle licence (Code C and E).
While these new road laws are still under proposal and there is no indication as to when the above changes may be implemented, they are still worth noting. Of course, the questions remain whether these changes will be welcomed by South African motorists and if they will make an impact desperately needed for safer roads nationally?