Are trucks the major problem on SA's roads?

It’s believed two out of three trucks on our roads are unroadworty

Due to South Africa’s poor transport system, trucks need to be used to a great extent to transport commercial goods. However, this is not just damaging SA’s roads, this is also causing a great amount of accidents – in fact it is quite evident how many accident are caused by trucks on South African roads. Heavy vehicles – trucks specifically – make up a large percentage of the total vehicles on a stretch of road and have proved to be a major contributor to road carnage. This begs the question – are (unroadworthy) trucks one of the biggest problems on our roads?

The accident known as the ‘Pinetown Accident‘ as well as the accident that happened on the N12 several weeks ago was caused by trucks that are faulty. This highlighted problems in the trucking industry of South Africa. After this accident, ENCA reported that it is believed two out of three trucks on our roads are unroadworthy.

This issue has become even more evident after yet another hair-raising incident involving an unroadworthy truck carrying scrap metal on the N14 on Tuesday 28 October and once again raised concern that maintenance of many trucks on local roads has hit dangerously low levels. According to Krugersdorp News, due to the high accident rate, the N14 Pinehaven crossing in Muldersdrift has been dubbed the local stairway to heaven and road users are exposed to life threatening scenarios daily.

“The driver of the specific truck found himself in a compromising position when the truck’s brakes failed on a steep hill and weighing in his options he drove into a barrier at the side of the road to bring it to a halt,” explains Chief Provincial Traffic Inspector George Raftopoulos.

On inspecting the vehicle, local traffic authorities came to find that it is one of the most unroadworthy vehicles some have seen in decades. This just adds to the list of truck accidents, most caused by unroadworthiness, aggressive and unskilled driving, which has now become a norm in South Africa.

In an interview with JP Smith, a member of the mayoral committee of safety and security, he comments that it is not necessarily unroadworthy (passenger) vehicles that cause accidents, but heavy vehicles and trucks.. Besides the fact that the vehicle might be faulty, truck drivers tend to take chances on the road. And the drivers of these trucks normally get out alive as they are elivated above passenger vehicle level. 

But, what are South Africans to do except accept the realisation of these deathtraps on our roads? One thing a concerned citizen can do is report bad drivers, unsafe vehicles and reckless and negligent driver behaviour.