With nearly half a million professional drivers operating without proper documentation, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has issued a warning to freight and public transport operators (owners) that it plans to hold them liable for the failure of their drivers to renew their Professional Driving Permits (PrDPs).
Information from the RTMC indicates that as of December 31, 2014, there were a total of 433 973 expired Professional Driving Permits recorded on the National Traffic Information System. This figure represents 43.35% of all PrDPs issued.
The province that recorded the highest increase of expired PrDPs was Gauteng with 49.84%. This was followed by KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Cape, with 43.69% and 42.55% respectively. Drivers are required to produce a medical fitness certificate and maintain a clean criminal record in order to obtain a Professional Driving Permit.
The CEO of the RTMC, Advocate Makhosini Msibi, has warned transport operators that the Road Traffic Act places a duty on them to exercise proper control of their drivers and ensure compliance with all provisions of the law including requirements in respect of Professional Driving Permits.
“It is the duty of the operator to ensure that both the driver and the vehicle are fit to be operated on a public road,” he said in a statement, adding that Section 50 of the National Traffic Act imposes a responsibility on traffic authorities to suspend or cancel the license of any operator if that the operator has failed to exercise his or her duties in terms of the Act.
To improve compliance and improve safety on the roads, the RTMC – together with other traffic enforcement agencies – have stepped up their vigilance and will investigate all major accidents to establish the compliance level of operators. This collaboration will be rolled out throughout the year and unannounced inspections will be undertaken on operators’ premises to establish compliance levels.
Habitual overloading offenders will also be identified and stringent measures will be taken against those found to be unwilling to comply with the law. Operators are cautioned to adhere to road traffic regulations and obey the rules of the road.
“The National Traffic Police together with other law enforcement agencies will be increasing their vigilance on the roads throughout the year and offenders will be prosecuted,” Advocate Msibi has cautioned.