Yet another fantastic event put on by FleetWatch presented in KZN, once again bringing together the private sector and law enforcement in an initiative to curb the road carnage, caused by un-roadworthy vehicles on our roads.
It must be noted that an impressive number of officers attended, this included some of the ranking officers.
The first day saw well-organized and presented lectures by various experts in the field of Heavy Vehicles, at the Road Traffic Inspectorate training centre in Pietermaritzburg. Various lucky draws helped stimulate interest in the subject matter presented where keen concentration and remembering specific details were continuously rewarded on a Q&A basis with many prizes sponsored by the various private sector partners involved in the initiative being presented for correct answers.
The various PowerPoint presentations were definitely an eye opener to most of those that attended in that they provided and insight and knowledge to the specifications of the various components and safety regulations on heavy vehicles and most importantly how to identify the defects, failure and or pure and simple lack of maintenance or incorrectly fitted components on the vehicles.
The passion and enthusiasm, in the voices of the presenters, showed just how serious they were about stepping in and assisting from the private sector and encouraging the attendees to do the same.
The second day being a practical day, at the Marian Hill, Road Traffic Inspectorate Testing Station, which include the use of the Weigh-bridge and brake roller tester. It was great to see the co-operation between the blue Metro Police Uniform members and those of the Khaki Uniforms of the Road Traffic Inspectors. All attendees were placed into groups, together with expert/specialist appointed as a team leader.
With the assistance from MAN, who brought in a brand new Truck Tractor and Trailer Combination, this then allowed each team to inspector and visualize components and new technology both on and off the testing pits on a perfect vehicle to set the benchmark.
The real work then began as heavy vehicles were randomly brought in by a team from the N3 and M13 freeway, for the awaiting teams to inspect.
Each team then visually inspected these rigs in detail against a check list. Perhaps most importantly, the attendees linked the defects to the relevant Road Traffic Act specifications against which they are able to bring charges for the faults. The faults were also recorded and pointed out to the driver. Some of the attendees were absolutely astonished to see firsthand (some for the first time in their career, the major mechanical defects that existed, from loose/missing brake components, cracked chassis, defective tyres and defective suspensions to name a few.
Where faults found were too serious to allow the driver to continue on his journey, these vehicles were suspended on the spot, the officers removed their license discs and issued them with a notice of discontinue. The vehicles with somewhat less severe problems were afforded the opportunity to rectify these and be on their way.
As the heavens opened late in the afternoon, the day came to a close, the success being that the teams thoroughly inspected 41 vehicles (a record number in one day!). 29 of these were suspended, a shocking, more than 70%!, a further 12 were released either on fines or because they had passed the inspection. What more evidence is required to convince the higher powers that we have a major problem on the roads and perhaps more importantly a massive problem with control of these problems.
This initiative is of utmost importance where our law enforcement agencies are, except for such events, are largely never afforded the opportunity to learn from industry experts in a combined academic and practical session as was put together. It has been shown from previous sessions of this nature that the training provided by the private sector initiative has been a massive success and is highly appreciated by those that attend, here`s to further events. There is no doubt that our law enforcement agencies that attended, that will now conduct similar inspections will be in an excellent position to undertake their duties proficiently and help curb the carnage caused on our roads.