Traffic cops to be trained on trucks’ roadworthiness

A heavy-load truck drives on the N1 near exit 25.

Most traffic officers don’t check underneath trucks for leaks and other defects during roadblocks, according to an online magazine, and Brackenfell traffic officers will be among the first in the province to get training to change that.

In a project supported by provincial government, FleetWatch magazine will be bringing the Brake and Tyre Watch road initiative to the Gene Louw Traffic College, in Brackenfell, on Wednesday and Thursday August 10 and 11.

The initiative, according to its spokeswoman Kendall Harrison, encourages traffic officers to check heavy-load trucks’ chassis – and other mechanics, including brakes and tyres – and stresses the importance of efficient braking and tyre checking for transport firms.

The project emphasises preventative maintenance on trucks, including lighting and reflectors, which are some of the other things many traffic officers tend to overlook during inspection.

Ms Harrison said training the traffic officials would lead to more unroadworthy heavy vehicles being pulled off our roads.

The head of Gene Louw Traffic College, Gerald Payne, said he would be speaking at the event.

Provincial Department of Public Works spokesman Byron la Hoe said the initiative would use the department’s R26 million vehicle testing centre for the practical phase.

“We encourage any form of training from specialists in the industry to improve the embedded knowledge of our traffic officials which promotes driver and motor vehicle safety,” he said.

In the first inspection carried out by the initiative in 2013, 19 of the 41 tested trucks failed roadworthy tests in Worcester’s testing centre. Ms Harrison said the event would be the second one in the province, and 65 traffic officers and more than 100 sponsoring partners and guests would be at the meeting.

To date, out of 654 trucks inspected by the initiative since 2006, 442 have failed. To put the training to the test, the same traffic officials who were trained on the previous day will help the initiative with pulling trucks off the road and into the testing area.

Ms Harrison said accidents were often blamed on failed brakes or a burst tyre. “FleetWatch contends that brakes only fail if you fail to put your foot on the brake pedal or alternatively when the operator has failed to maintain the braking system. It is the latter area of neglect that concerns us,” she said.

“It is a sad fact that many operators, due to the pressures to deliver combined with the current negative economic climate, are skipping their scheduled maintenance intervals – a worrying trend with dire consequences.”