An alarming 763 fatalities were the result of 130 major road accidents in South Africa in 2015, as per statistics from the annual Road Traffic Report Calendar published by the Road Traffic Management Corporation earlier this year.
t was further revealed that of these major accidents – those involving more than four vehicles and causing more than five deaths – 129 commercial trucks and delivery vehicles were involved. Over 80 per cent of accidents were caused by human factors, which range from speeding, driving in the wrong lanes, overtaking when unsafe to do so and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Of the total number of background checks conducted against driver’s licences last year, findings revealed that nine per cent of all professional drivers’ permit verifications returned unconfirmed.
These results are concerning considering that many of these drivers operate heavy duty vehicles on busy roads. It poses a serious and life-threatening risk to other road users, as evident by the statistics, when a non-permitted driver, who lacks the required skill and training, sits behind the wheel of a large vehicle.
Furthermore, goods transported in commercial vehicles can be worth thousands of rands. With the current drought and rising cost of living, the loss of precious commodities like food and petroleum through accidents can be devastating. It is therefore imperative that those at the helm of these vehicles are fully qualified and permitted to take on these positions, which will contribute toward safeguarding both the passengers, other road-users and protecting valuable cargo.
Rudi Kruger is the General Manager at LexisNexis GRC.