Proposed transport changes meet with opposition

The Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) has called for comments from local citizens about proposed legislative changes put forward by the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, which, the PCB says, is likely to have a significant impact on business.
While the proposals, if accepted, would inevitably have a negative effect on business, they would also impact individual drivers in numerous ways.
Outlining the proposals, the PCB said they are as follows:
• On renewal of your driving licence card, you will need to be assessed again – verbally on traffic signs, hand signals, and rules of the road, and you will have to undertake a physical driving test (basically, re-do your driver’s license);
• People may not be transported in a goods vehicle unless they are separated by a solid barrier that is at least 350 mm higher than the surface on which they are seated or 900mm higher than the surface on which they are standing;
• No more than five people may be transported in the goods compartment of a goods vehicle weighing less than 3 500 kgs;
• No person may be conveyed together with any goods (except their personal effects)- they must be separated from any goods by a solid barrier;
• The speed limit on urban roads to be decreased to 40 km/h, the speed limit on roads outside urban areas to be reduced to 80 km/h. The speed limit on national roads to remain at 120 km/h, slowing to 100 km/h when passing through residential areas;
• No vehicles (except emergency vehicles) exceeding 9000 kgs are to use urban roads between 06 am and 9am and between 5pm and 8pm, Monday to Friday (except Public Holidays).
PCB CEO Melanie Venness said the organization would raise all objections and concerns that they receive through the South African Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Sacci).
She called on concerned parties to forward comments to the PCB by not later than 9 June. They can be sent to [email protected]
Caro Smit, the founder of South Africans against Drunk Driving (SADD), put forward a number of reasons why the proposals should be rejected.
“I don’t think it is practical to retest everybody. I think the most important thing that will get people to drive better is proper enforcement and swift sentencing, so the Department of Justice and the Department of Transport need to work together. We need traffic courts,” Smit said
“I don’t think retesting will work. The other thing, which is already happening, is that there are so many fraudulent licences that are being bought, and this move will make it very open to exactly the same practice [but on a greater scale].
Concluding, she added: “The staff is overworked at the licensing departments. Rather spend the money on enforcement and traffic officers on duty. That would be much more practical. And it would stop an increase in corruption.”

Maritzburg Sun Reporter

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