New road laws on the cards?


This year we again saw an increase in the road death toll. Within just a few days of this period the number was well over 700 and this high number is what prompted the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to suggest major changes to laws and licensing in South Africa.


The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, commends the RTMC for assessing the situation and reacting before the festive season was over. “The tendency of the death toll to continually increase and seldom show noteworthy decreases, necessitates decisive action to change this. These changes, however, may not be as easily implementable as many people believe.”


“There are a number of challenges to implementing the suggested changes. The plan to make every driver re-do their driving license every five years does not seem possible from an administrative perspective. Does the system have the capability to handle the increase? It may work better to only require certain drivers to re-do their licenses, such as those in a certain age bracket,” advises Herbert.


Other suggestions that could be potentially problematic include the reassessment of the K53 theory. “In addition to reassessing the theory, we also need to ensure all drivers have the practical skills to be competent drivers. Additionally, will requiring newly qualified motorists to drive with experienced drivers for six months be long enough?


“Stats from the UK suggest it is not. Road experts say it takes driving a distance of 100 000mi (160 000km) to be considered experienced. There is the possibility to improve this, however. If they drive with experienced drivers for six months and concurrently underwent training extending beyond K53 training,” says Herbert.


Decisive action is necessary to improve the state of South African roads. The RTMC has made a move in this direction. With just a few adjustments to the original suggestions, improved results may be possible.


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