I am often accused as Editor of FleetWatch of exaggerating the poor state of trucks on our roads. I wish that were the case. Just three days after the horror accident where an unroadworthy truck ploughed into 50 cars on the N12, FleetWatch arranged for a quick roadside inspection of trucks for a television crew which wanted a close up view of the state of trucks on our roads.
I predicted to the one TV crew member that it would take no more than three trucks – randomly pulled off the road – to find one which would be discontinued. Working with a small group of Ekurhuleni traffic officials who had previously been on our Brake & Tyre Watch training exercise as well as with George Hartman from BPW, one of our Brake & Tyre Watch partners, and Martin Barnard, FleetWatch driver correspondent now with Truck & Cargo – the cops choose a spot where we could safely pull off trucks. The first truck pulled off passed the inspection. They then pulled off the second truck and ‘bingo’ – it was more of a threat to people’s lives than the San Andreas Fault Line.
Without wanting to steal a march on the TV programme’s exclusivity for whom we arranged this exercise, this truck was totally unroadworthy with shoddy tyres – the inner tyre on the rear set of twins having no air in it at all –broken spring brackets, disconnected ABS, and lots more. The ‘best’ of all – and a first for us – was the gearbox mounting. The gearbox was held in place with web strapping. Serious!!! See the picture. The cop warned the driver not to drive the truck but to tell his boss to get a tow truck to tow it to the nearest place of repair.
When the cop went to take the discs off, they were already gone. On checking, it turned out the rig had been discontinued two days before. The owner now had it illegally back on the road with no repairs having been done. My question to the owner – who said he was coming to the scene but never arrived – of this shoddy rig is: “Didn’t you see the N12 horror crash.
Haven’t you seen the Field’s Hill horror crash – or is it that you just don’t care about other people’s lives.”
I guess it’s the second summation so my advice to this owner is to get out of this industry. You’re not wanted in it. I predicted it would take three trucks to find one that was unroadworthy. I was wrong. It only took two.