‘68% of trucks’ are not roadworthy

Eleven out of 13 trucks failed at the traffic college.

Nearly 70 percent of trucks and trailers on our roads should not be there, says a road transport expert, and the results of tested trucks pulled over in Brackenfell recently are testament to that.

The first six heavy-load trucks traffic officers pulled over failed roadworthy tests in the Break and Tyre Watch campaign at the Gene Louw Traffic College in Brackenfell on Thursday August 11. Of the 13 pulled over on Thursday, only two were found to be roadworthy. On Wednesday, the campaign focused on the theory aspect of checking trucks.

The traffic college, together with online magazine FleetWatch, hosted the two-day campaign, which, according to its spokeswoman, Kendall Harrison, provided truck check training to 55 traffic officers.

The training focused on leakages, brakes, tyres and other defects both underneath and on top of the chassis (“Traffic cops to be trained on trucks’ roadworthiness,” Northern News, August 3).

Of concern is the fact that traffic officers only check the front, which truckers always seem to make sure is serviced, ignoring the back of the chassis and trailers. Dave Scott, a technical correspondent for the magazine and a road transport consultant, said testing centres are riddled with corruption: most of the trucks on the road are not fit to be there but have roadworthy clearance documents.

This is because of something Mr Scott calls “dial-a-roadworthy”, when owners collude with crooked testing centre officials to pass their vehicles without even sending them for tests.

A traffic officer, who cannot be named as the officer is not authorised to speak to the media, recounted how a traffic services crackdown at one of the testing centres in the city had found it had issued 11 roadworthy papers when in fact only six cars had been logged on the centre’s register. Mr Scott said: “Sixty-eight percent of the trailers and trucks we have tested nationwide since the initiative started, have failed. The trucks that have failed today are a testament to that as well. About two years ago, at one of the traffic centres here in Cape Town, 100 percent of the trucks tested failed.”

Department of Transport and Public Works spokesman, Byron la Hoe, said the two-day campaign included theoretical and practical training, including the inspection of brakes, tyres, axles, lights and reflective tape.

He said provincial traffic services regularly tested vehicles, fining owners of defective ones. Unroadworthy vehicles were pulled off the roads until they had been certified as roadworthy and their owners had renewed their licences.

The 11 trucks that failed roadworthy tests on Thursday had been impounded immediately.

“We are serious about taking unroadworthy trucks off Western Cape roads. Through regular roadblocks and specialised heavy vehicle operations, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that operators face the consequences,” he said.