Apr

Disbelief and outrage at Minister’s proposal to restrict trucks

2015-04-30 09:58
This photograph, compliments of Paul Nordengen, should be enough to scare the Minister of Transport into shelving her proposal to restrict trucks from operating on public roads during certain times of the day. It shows a back-up of trucks on the N3 on Towns Hill in Pietermaritzburg. A rough count puts the number of trucks in this ‘park-off’ at about 50. The N3 running between Johannesburg and Durban is South Africa’s busiest trucking route. Now imagine 1 000 trucks having to park off outside of Johannesburg and Durban on the N3 every morning and every afternoon of every day of the year. And then extend that to all roads around the country.  That is what will have to happen if the Minister of Transport’s proposal comes into being. The mind boggles.

Pure outrage to stunned disbelief probably best describes the spectrum of emotions and feedback received by FleetWatch through telephone calls, letters to the Editor as well as Facebook comments following a report we carried on the proposal by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to restrict goods vehicles from operating on public roads from 17h00 to 20h00 Monday to Friday (except public holidays) and from 06h00 to 09h00 Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

Minister Peters said her proposal was “in response to the increase in the number of road carnage that involves goods vehicles on the South African roads (sic),” and will affect commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeding 9 000kg.

FleetWatch voiced its disapproval of the proposal in that article which can be read by clicking on this link: https://fleetwatch.co.za/minister-peters-proposes-restricted-hours-for-trucks/. We also asked for input from the industry and the following are three of the letters received as well as comment from Gavin Kelly of the Road Freight Association. We also received many telephone calls from operators expressing their disapproval and total rejection of the proposal. One said: “This shows that the Minister has no idea of how the logistics and supply chain industry works.” Here are three of the letters received:

The picture is truly horrendous
Thanks to FleetWatch for the article and your comments of the proposals. In short, taking your example of 1 000 trucks parked at R500 per hour for six hours is R3-million per day. At 250 working days per year, this equates to R750-million per year. And that is only on the N3 at the Johannesburg end. Now take the above and multiply it by the number of heavy trucks registered on Natis and the picture is truly horrendous. Then add to that the cost of our ports standing idle for six hours every day (they work 24/7 362 days a year) – as 80% of all movements are done by road!

And all this is to solve an alleged safety issue not a congestion issue? A perfect example of how and why this will not work is obvious. Heavy vehicles cannot reach high speeds if the roadway is congested. And it is during the proposed hours of restrictions that the roads would be congested.

We have the ridiculous solution for Fields Hill in Durban of heavy vehicles being restricted during times of heavy congestion but not during the time-frame when that horrific crash actually took place in September 2013! I suggested that all heavies be banned from going down the hill – at any time – and be made to use the alternate, safer route via the toll-road. All prudent transporters already use this route with mainly suspect truckers still electing to use the Hill. You will notice I never proposed a restriction in going up the Hill – because how fast can you go? The same logic applies to congested roadways.

Any professional transporter will tell you that the time to park off – if possible –

is between 23h00 and 04h30. These hours, on long distance, are known as the “Death Hours” and have been ever since I came into transport in 1974. Keep up the good work FleetWatch.

Kevin Martin
Freightliner Transport
Durban.

The Minister’s proposal is ludicrous.

  1. Take six hours of productivity out of the supply chain and the country’s productivity and GDP will drop like a jamajama down a mineshaft.
  2. Parking is non-existent and just that, in itself, makes her proposal unworkable. The trucks will be parked all over our highways causing a much bigger and more dangerous traffic mess.
  3. Imagine 1000s and 1000s of trucks pulling onto our roads all at the same time during the day and again at night. The congestion is unimaginable. The frustration will kill 1000s more and will have exactly the opposite effect than contemplated by Minister Peters.
  4. Drivers will be pressed even more for time, will sleep less and speed more resulting, again, in the exact opposite than what Peters is imagining will be achieved.

It is common practise that in many cities and towns across the world, trucks are restricted within the CBD’s within certain peak periods. This make sense but a complete ban is ludicrous. The rest of my thoughts cannot be mentioned on paper. Thanks for all FleetWatch does for the Truckers!

Jacques Brand
Truck and Cargo Salvage Solutions (Pty) Ltd
Cape Town

The Minister must do a reality check
This is a crazy idea. The majority of accidents are caused by driver fatigue. Now what will happen if transporters push to achieve set goals within the time frame from 06h00 to 22h00 at night. This action will lead to additional cost for consumers and industry.

Currently we have achieved 23-million accident free kilometres and had only three reportable incidents whereby 3rd parties slammed into the back of our vehicles. Rather do something about the so called public transport as taxis are killing people daily.

We invest in Training, ISO and RTMS accreditations to achieve our safety targets – and at a cost. The Minister must wake up and do a reality check. She must invest time to check the quality of all our roads, the roadworthiness of public transport vehicles (taxis) before blaming accidents/incidents on the trucking industry.

The buying of licenses, for example, is on-going in our area. We test drivers with Code 14 and PrDp (Professional Drivers Permits) and they don’t even know where the trailer brakes are. The Minister must give her undivided attention to more important things.

Andre Ackerman
Divisional Manager

Reinhardt Transport

The RFA speaks out
The proposed legislation to restrict freight vehicles in peak hours will not reduce road carnage but will merely create greater congestion, more chaos and pandemonium on our roads.

It will now cost you more for a loaf of bread if you’re lucky enough to find a fresh loaf on the shelf at your local supermarket. And not to mention your veggies, meat, chicken, fish, butter, milk, which is already being impacted by the country-wide load shedding.

Picture laden trucks parked off on the sides and verges of roads from highways to upmarket suburban areas and then a sudden tsunami of trucks as soon as the restriction is over jostling to markets to make up for lost hours.

Operators will now have to review loading and offloading times with customers and review how loads are going to be distributed around the country. This could easily result in smaller vehicles being utilised which will just drive up the cost of logistics and motorists will have to contend with more freight vehicles on the road.

This legislation will not solve the real problem on the road which is the lack of enforcement and motorists not obeying the rules of the road. Sporadic testing of drivers by authorities will also not curtail the accidents.

The major truck accidents were caused as a result of operators that did not operate legally and professionally on our roads which would most probably have been prevented through proper law enforcement. In the incident in Pinetown, despite the driver’s illegal licence, it was clear that no compliance training had taken place and in the N12 incident, a basic pre-trip inspection had not been properly conducted and the truck had not been maintained. In the unfortunate accident with Minister Chabane, the owner of the vehicle was not a professional operator and the vehicle had not been licensed.

The RFA urges the Minister to seriously reconsider such draconian measures which will be more damaging to the economy and will result in a poorer society. Minister, rather focus your resources on proper law enforcement, eradication of bribery and corruption and providing more officers on duty during the period of the proposed restriction.

Gavin Kelly
Technical and Operations Manager
The Road Freight Association

Fleetwatch Facebook posts
The following are some of the comments received to the post we put up on our FleetWatch Facebook page detailing the Minister’s proposal. Many of these are from truck drivers. The Editor has ‘tidied’ up some of the more ‘colourful language’ used in some of the comments but otherwise, we give all the right to their say:

  • What else are they going to suck out their thumbs….honestly. – Labuschagne Sonja Wayne
  • I really don’t think these people sit and think about what they are doing. They just wake up and decide. I wish they could just think before they act – Prinavin Naidoo
  • Silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Businesses will suffer – not just transport businesses but many other businesses too! Absolutely ludicrous – Ashrene Bikram
  • This woman is a nut job – Yaseen Randeree
  • Mmmm…a conundrum for logistic operators who operate with On-Time logistics; fuel and perishables to name a couple. Wholesalers and retailers will need to rethink delivery schedules. Workers hours will need to change. Should I go on? Poor uniformed decisions. The final draft will make interesting reading – Murray Wood.
  • She wants to slow down the production. Quite frankly it won’t work. – King-Kgosi Charlie Buddy Shuping
  • That is democracy for us. Just push it down our throats!!!Malcolm Naidoo
  • Bunch of idiots running our government – Bruce J Little
  • Minister doesn’t know how a truck operates and how 2 drive it. If u don’t know how to do your job, get off the gravy train – Giepas VRv Oudtshoorn
  • What is a public road Minister? All roads in South Africa are public so if I drive on the N1 in the Karoo Beaufort West, must I then stop, pull over from 5pm to 8pm and 6am to 9am? Just want to know what I must do. Tell me – Neville Walter Brown
  • Been long overdue. If everybody complies it will be a level playing field. How they enforce it is another thing. If they can’t keep death traps and dangerous drivers off the road, how are they going to keep everyone in checkKeith Paterson
  • Sure…go ahead. Slow down trade and production. It’s not like our economy is suffering!!!!Runga Munsamy
  • Yes that’s OK. The trucks will just park on the slow and middle lane and wait for peak hour to be over. Dimwit government. – Adheel Baniparsadh
  • There goes the economy for a bigger ball of s……What drives this economy – road freight!Angelo Marsiglia
  • It’s not workable and she must also tell us who is going pay for those restrictions as they’ll increase costs – Batsosi Busang Motsepeng
  • This woman, she is clever…toooo clever for you transport people. Think I’m gonna get me 32 x 1ton bakkies. They can transport the load of one truck while my truck is parked in the yellow line during peak traffic. If you can’t beat them you join them. Hahahaha – Elbey Wayne Witness
  • Regulate the industry then we as transporters can earn a decent rate and kick out all the idiots that are there just to make a quick buck while not even knowing what a wheel spanner looks like. We who have a passion for the industry are sick and tired of our rates constantly being cut and it is really beginning to affect our feasibility of being in the industry – Mehmood Peerbay
  • Excellent idea. Stack the trucks outside cities for three hours. Firstly – where? Then at 9 am sharp, watch the gridlock as 15 000 trucks hit the CBDs all at once. Gonna be the most unproductive year ever. – Jan-George Kilian
  • Let’s put Minister Peters on a truck for a month! Then she can justify if her proposal will work! – Carl Lenaers

 
If anyone would like to submit their comments on this issue, please email to The Editor at fleetwatch@pixie.co.za. I would be particularly interested in hearing from companies on the specific effect such a proposal would have on their operations and the wider economy.
 


 
Plea from Patrick O’Leary, Publisher and Managing Editor of FleetWatch, to the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters:
Dear Minister Peters. FleetWatch urges you to please shelve your proposal on restricting trucks from operating on public roads during certain times of the day. Yes, we know your intentions to reduce road carnage are honourable but this is not the way to do it. You have been wrongly advised. Please believe me when I say that should you go ahead with this, you will go down in history as the Minister of Transport who brought a country to its knees and played absolute havoc not only with people’s lives but also with the economy – stretching right back to as far as Japan in the supply chain. Trust us on this one. Don’t do it. It’s is the wrong move. There are better ways to achieve your objectives and we are there to help you.

Dear Minister Peters. FleetWatch urges you to please shelve your proposal on restricting trucks from operating on public roads during certain times of the day. Yes, we know your intentions to reduce road carnage are honourable but this is not the way to do it. You have been wrongly advised. Please believe me when I say that should you go ahead with this, you will go down in history as the Minister of Transport who brought a country to its knees and played absolute havoc not only with people’s lives but also with the economy – stretching right back to as far as Japan in the supply chain. Trust us on this one. Don’t do it. It’s is the wrong move. There are better ways to achieve your objectives and we are there to help you.

Dear Minister Peters.
FleetWatch urges you to please shelve your proposal on restricting trucks from operating on public roads during certain times of the day. Yes, we know your intentions to reduce road carnage are honourable but this is not the way to do it. You have been wrongly advised. Please believe me when I say that should you go ahead with this, you will go down in history as the Minister of Transport who brought a country to its knees and played absolute havoc not only with people’s lives but also with the economy – stretching right back to as far as Japan in the supply chain. Trust us on this one. Don’t do it. It’s is the wrong move. There are better ways to achieve your objectives and we are there to help you.

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