ELEVEN out of 14 trucks were suspended during a Brake and Tyre Watch Campaign at the Umdloti Weighbridge Station on Wednesday last week.
Throughout the day, dozens of Metro Police officers received specialised training that would enable them to identify and remove unroadworthy trucks from Durban roads and essentially prevent potential road carnage.
The road safety campaign was initiated by Fleetwatch, an online trucking magazine, in 2006. However, the importance of such initiatives was highlighted after the horrific Field’s Hill crash in 2013, which claimed the lives of 24 people. The truck, which smashed into several vehicles, was found to have had faulty brakes.
The Department of Transport estimates that 43 people die on the roads every day, and more than 18 000 are killed in accidents every year. On average, 70 per cent of the trucks tested by the campaign failed the road safety test, according to the K53 specifications set by the National Road Traffic Act.
What’s more, said Patric O’Leary, publisher and managing editor of the magazine, the accidents cost the country R350-billion a year. “These statistics are shocking. Our aim is to minimise the number of deaths. In actual fact, we believe one death is one too many,” he said.
While the Northglen News was on site, two of the trucks were found to be unroadworthy. While one truck’s brakes were not up to scratch, the other was found to have several issues, including missing and loose bolts on the wheel caps, a massive crack in one of the wheels and a disconnected anti-lock breaking system (ABS).
“The crack in the wheel is not necessarily a sign of malicious neglect, as the truck is a heavy duty vehicle and it could have formed during one trip, but the combination of issues paint a concerning picture. The crack alone could lead to a serious accident, which is why the truck was suspended,” said Craig Proctor-Parker, a Durban-based accident specialist who led one of the training sessions at the site.
Proctor-Parker explained that, while they could not teach the traffic officials all of the signs, they focused on the typical issues they encounter, such as missing components as well as worn-out brake shoes and tyres.