As from 1 January 2017 it became mandatory for speed governors to be fitted to certain vehicles registered on that date. These include minibuses, midi-buses, buses and goods vehicles which weigh over 3 500kg. The objective of speed governors is to limit these vehicles to a maximum speed of 100km/h.
From the time the amendment was first mentioned in 2014, support was expressed for it. Of the estimated 12 deaths a day on South African roads, 25% can be attributed to these vehicles. For this reason, it is believed these laws can have a positive impact on road safety in South Africa.
Yet, speed alone is not the only cause of accidents within heavy goods or medium commercial vehicles. According to the MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, as with most other classes of vehicles, training has the potential to reduce these accidents even more. “Yet, heavy goods vehicles are a category often overlooked in terms of training solutions.
“Just like an 18-wheeler truck, safely moving a goods vehicle around requires certain skills. A major challenge that drivers have to deal with is loads which change throughout the day and consequently how to best load the vehicle for safety,” says Herbert.
Additionally, cornering, braking, and speed are all different in a medium commercial vehicle. “Properly trained drivers know what to expect and how to safely handle the vehicle in each of these scenarios. They know how to adjust their driving technique, speed and following distances to suit each situation.”
Training will also teach drivers how to handle the other challenges they face on South African roads each day. They will learn:
- How to anticipate and recognise potentially hazardous situations before they happen
- How to avoid that situation
- How to drive economically
The installation of speed governors is just one step in the right direction. Training of drivers is the most important step in reducing crashes in this sector. Goods vehicles make up a large portion of vehicles on the road, the time for overlooking training should be a thing of the past.