Truck accidents are a daily occurrence on SA`s roads. Dave Johnston, a
consultant for the Matrix Road Safety
Foundation, believes these accidents could have been prevented, had the
drivers adhered to the basic road rules. “There is a major problem with truck
drivers not adhering to road rules and driving vehicles that are not
roadworthy,” he says.
To put it in perspective, on 30 April, at around 6pm, three
trucks collided on the R24.
“This major collision during the long weekend resulted from a classic
combination of excessive speed, driver inattentiveness and inadequate following
distance,” he says. Three trucks ended up rear-ending each other, and emergency
personnel at the scene had to use cutting tools and winches to free two of the
drivers, who were trapped as a result of a blunt-force collision. “The first
truck in the queue had been stationary and positioned in the left lane of the
busy highway. The second and third trucks rammed into the first one at excessive
speed,” he adds.
Then, on 8 May, the Matrix Road Safety Foundation was called to the scenes of
yet another two truck accidents. “The first accident took place at around 12pm
at the intersection of North Reef and Germiston Roads. A hijacked construction
truck skipped a red traffic light and collided with a transport truck. The
injured hijacker then attempted to hijack another vehicle at the intersection
and ended up fleeing on foot. The hijacker is still at large. It is suspected he
has a facial injury. The passenger of the transport truck sustained mild
injuries and was treated by Emer-G-Med paramedics. Subsequently, approximately
400 litres of diesel then spilled onto the road and the intersection had to be
closed as the diesel made the intersection very dangerous,” says Johnston.
The second incident took place at around 2:10pm, on Edenvale Road, over the
R24. The driver of a Mercedes was stopped at a red traffic light. A truck then
drove straight into the back of the Mercedes when the driver failed to observe
that the traffic light was red.
Then, only a day later, the N1
South came too a standstill at around 4:10pm, when the brakes of a transport
truck allegedly locked up, causing the truck driver to lose control and plough
into 15 cars waiting in the late afternoon traffic. Fortunately, there were no
“While the one incident does involve a hijacking, it is apparent that we are
seeing daily accidents on our roads as a result of reckless driving by truck
drivers. Owners of truck fleets need to take responsibility and invest in
adequate training for their drivers. They also need to ensure that the vehicles
are roadworthy and that their drivers are not being overworked, which results in
driving fatigue and accidents,” says Johnston.
He warns truck drivers to adhere to speed limits. “Trucks should have an
adequate three-second or longer following distance and should be driven at a
speed from which they can be stopped safely. Also, the emergency lane is for
emergencies and should not be used as a stopping or loading lane. This is
especially important to remember on the highways. Should the vehicle break down,
make sure you use warning flashers and reflective triangles to warn traffic.
“The damage done when a truck is involved in an accident is often more
significant than that of a regular vehicle. Lives are lost and people get
injured. Now is the time to put a stop to all these truck accidents and make our
roads safer for all,” concludes Johnston.
For more information on the Matrix Road Safety Foundation, go to www.matrix.co.za.