Oct

One bad apple… take it off the road!

2010-10-01 19:44
You don’t have to look much further than the general state of a rig to ascertain maintenance neglect.

You all know the story about the one bad apple spoiling the whole basket. The trucking industry is very much like that writes Patrick O’Leary.

And here it is in all its dastardly glory. Just because a rig is old doesn't mean it has to be in this state. Proof is provided via a company called Clotan Steel whose old bull-nosed Mercedes- Benz 1113s ply the streets of Gauteng in impeccable condition.

And here it is in all its dastardly glory. Just because a rig is old doesn’t mean it has to be in this state. Proof is provided via a company called Clotan Steel whose old bull-nosed Mercedes- Benz 1113s ply the streets of Gauteng in impeccable condition.

There is no question about it. There are thousands of trucks out there which just look so good on the roads , whose owners and drivers take huge pride in their profession. These are the people , and the rigs , which do this industry proud. Then you get those who just don’t care about best practice or pride. They are there just to make a buck. I believe such operators are in the minority but it is an unfortunate truth that they taint the good name of the entire industry. One example is the truck depicted here. This ‘˜guy’ was easily picked up by the spotters during the Road Safety Foundation’s truck visibility project when he entered the Tugela Plaza with absolutely no rear lights.

The tell-tale sign of neglect was picked up by this rig having no rear lights , but there was more to come.

The tell-tale sign of neglect was picked up by this rig having no rear lights , but there was more to come.

Being dark, that was the obvious tell-tale sign that not all was right with this rig.  However, when the cops stopped him on the other side of the plaza, all was revealed. Not only did it have no rear lights but the rest of the rig was also in a shambolic state. Starting from the front where the bumper was hanging loose having never been fixed from its last bang, it got worse as we went back. The electrical suzy hose connection was hanging loose and when we attached it to the socket, the lights still did not work. This told us that the mechanics , or someone – knew about the lighting faults and merely told the driver to drive , from Durban to Johannesburg in the middle of the night no less.

Surely someone in the workshops would have noticed this? What's the point? Maybe the policy is just to leave it until it flies off into the vehicle behind , like the one on the left probably did as it is missing entirely.

Surely someone in the workshops would have noticed this? What’s the point? Maybe the policy is just to leave it until it flies off into the vehicle behind , like the one on the left probably did as it is missing entirely.

And not only was he on the road with that dangerous mess, but the left rear twin tyre was totally bald. No tread to speak of. And it was not carrying a spare tyre to replace it should it have popped. The right mud flap was also torn off and about to part company with its owner. That was enough. We didn’t have to inspect it further. The cop and I looked at each other and almost in unison said: ‘˜Suspension.’ It was served with a Discontinuation of Service notice and taken off the road.

The outer twin on the left rear tyres was totally bald. An accident just waiting to happen.

The outer twin on the left rear tyres was totally bald. An accident just waiting to happen.

The driver was highly embarrassed when all the faults were pointed out to him. He said it was dangerous to drive and he did not feel safe. And there were two others in the cab with him. So that’s three people’s lives which were at stake for the sake of a few bucks made between Durban and Johannesburg. It was an accident waiting to happen and who knows how many other lives would have been lost if he had been allowed to continue and that accident had occurred.

 The electrical suzy hose connection was hanging loose and when we attached it to the socket, the lights still did not work. Someone let this rig take to the road in the full knowledge that it was unsafe and unroadworthy.

The electrical suzy hose connection was hanging loose and when we attached it to the socket, the lights still did not work. Someone let this rig take to the road in the full knowledge that it was unsafe and unroadworthy.

I noticed a bumper sticker on the rear of the battered and bruised looking pantechnicon bearing the name of an insurance company. I contacted that company the next day and asked the MD if Ganasha Logistics, the operator of the rig, was their client, giving them the information we had picked up.

This is the reply email I got: “Yes, it is our client. A fleet survey has been arranged. Unless the client cooperates and rectifies the poor behaviour, the client will be an ex-client! Thank you for all the commitment and dedication!’

The accolade can be directed at all the people who were out there on the night – including the cops who did a sterling job.

It cannot be directed at Ganasha Logistics!

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