May

If you thought power outages were bad, wait for freight outages to hit

2015-05-10 16:47

What holds the potential to be the most damaging piece of legislation ever to be introduced into the country pertaining to the road freight industry has been gazetted in Government Gazette 38722. I quote from the Gazette: The following regulation is inserted after regulation 318 of the Regulations: 318A. Prohibition of operating on the public road of a goods vehicle the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 9 000 kilograms at certain times. (1) No person shall operate on the public road in an urban area a goods vehicle the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 9000 kilograms between the hours of 06h00 to 09h00 and 17h00 to 20h00 Monday to Friday except weekends and public holidays. Paragraph 2 basically states that emergency vehicles are excluded.

That’s it. The first small paragraph contains only 43 words but if implemented, those few words hold the potential to cripple the country and bring it to its knees. That it is even being considered by the DoT is a shock to the system. As FleetWatch special correspondent, Max Braun, says: “After nearly 60 years of being in and around the business or trucking, supply chain management and freight logistics, I am speechless that the Minister of Transport could put pen to paper announcing the intention to implement Regulation 318A. Such ingenuousness – or should I say naiveté – as to how road freight transport operates begs the question: ‘who comes up with such impractical and senseless wish lists”. Already FleetWatch has had a huge response to this proposed legislation. Some of these responses have been included in an article in this edition on page 8. However, given the importance of the matter – as well as the fact that the DoT has given four weeks from the date of the notice (date was May 11, 2015) for the submission of “any objections, inputs or comments to the proposed amendments”, I am using this column to publish yet another view, this one from Dave Thompson, general manager of Car Towing Services East.

“The effects on the economy and the disastrous effect of the traffic congestion which will result from these Regulations are among the many reasons for not imposing the Regulation. However, very few respondents have mentioned the more practical and viable methods of reducing the carnage allegedly resulting from commercial vehicle traffic. Here are just a few suggestions: firstly, the reasons for the incidence of road traffic accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles is not the mere presence on the road of heavy commercial vehicles during peak hours, as
Minister Peters proposed Regulation implies: It is:
1) The presence of unroadworthy vehicles on the road (Failure of Traffic Police to impound unroadworthy vehicles).
2) The presence of unlicensed drivers on the road (Failureof Traffic Police to apprehend unlicensed drivers).
3) Incidence of careless driving and reckless and negligent driving. (Failure of Traffic Police to apprehend careless and reckless & negligent drivers).
4) And of course the corruption of “bought” Driver’s Licenses and Roadworthy Certificates.
5) And dare I say it, “selective” enforcement. (Letting obviously overloaded and unroadworthy taxis pass while stopping obviously affluent road users).

“In short, it is the Traffic Department’s predisposition for sitting behind bushes with speed monitoring devices rather than policing “other moving offences” – as they are commonly known in America – and their complete failure to police the essentials of traffic management; those actions which are the major causes of road traffic accidents. When are the Traffic Departments going to learn that speed in itself cannot be the cause of accidents, it only exacerbates the result. (Speed is only the difference between injury, severe injury and death.) The Traffic Departments are far too prone to targeting the “soft” targets with their revenue earning tactics rather than actually doing their job of policing traffic management and keeping the roads free of unroadworthy vehicles, incompetent unlicensed drivers and those drivers who habitually and without forethought commit offences. Rather than reduce the incidents of road traffic accidents, Minister Peters’ proposed regulation will increase the incidents involving heavy commercial vehicles through the drivers trying to make up the time lost through the restriction and taking chances and, therefore a greater propensity for careless, reckless and negligent driving. “Finally, we in the abnormal transport industry sector cannot accept this regulation for one very basic reason. Unlike the general goods transport industry who have 100% of any ordinary week in which to provide 100% of their service to their clients, (24 hours per day 7 days per week), we are currently restricted to 35.72% of any ordinary week in which to deliver 100% of our service to our clients (Daylight hours 5 days of the week.) This additional restriction would reduce our capability by a further 25% to 26.78% of any ordinary week. This is totally impractical and unacceptable to our industry. I would, however, hasten to comment that Minister Peters’ proposed Regulation reinforces our contention that Condition 9(a) of the Abnormal Exemption Permit should be scrapped. The fact her proposed Regulation appears to be restricted to weekdays Monday to Friday, implies that the reduction in noncommercial traffic over weekends reduces the risk sufficiently to allow normal commercial traffic. This effectively negates the Department of Transport’s hobby horse of traffic density and traffic safety as the basis for their imposition of Condition 9(a) and opens the way for allowing abnormals to travel on weekends.” If you wish to submit your thoughts on the proposed regulations, please do so and email to The Editor at fleetwatch@pixie.co.za. Take this one seriously – very seriously. We cannot allow this to go ahead. You have seen what has happened to Eskom following the decision some years back taken by politicians not to build new power stations to cater for South Africa’s growth. Don’t let the same thing happen here.

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