The changes cover a wide range of issues with amendments being considered for ‘tuk tuks’, microdot security and even the requirements for passing a cyclist on the road.
A recent article by BusinessTech highlighted the four proposed amendments and how they will affect us, as South African motorists:
Passing a cyclist
The new amendment effectively states that cyclists should be treated the same way as any other vehicle. This means that the driver should pass the cyclist on the right at a distance of 1.2 metres and should not again drive on the left side of the roadway until safely clear of the cyclist.
It also notes that passing on the left of a cyclist would be permissible if the person driving the passing vehicle can do so with safety to themselves, the cyclist, and other traffic:
- The bicycle being passed is turning to its right, or the cyclist has signalled their intention of turning to the right;
- The road is a public road in an urban area and is restricted to vehicles moving in one direction; and the roadway is of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles including bicycles;
- The road is a public road in an urban area and the roadway is of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles moving in each direction;
- The roadway of such road is restricted to vehicles moving in one direction and is divided into traffic lanes by appropriate road traffic signs;
- Drivers are driving in compliance with the directions of a traffic officer or are driving in traffic which is under the general direction of such officer, and in accordance with such direction.
One of the biggest proposed changes is the regulation of microdots placed on South African vehicles.
- Microdots have seen increasing popularity as a safety feature on South African vehicles, and are classified as a particle with a diameter smaller than 1.8 mm which bears a unique optically readable microdot identifier – typically the vehicle’s 17-digit VIN number or another registered PIN.
- The new regulations establish a ‘Microdot Certification Body’ which will be responsible for registering, monitoring and approving all microdot manufacturers, fitters, sellers and distributors in the country.
- In addition there are a number of new requirements that must be met before allowing someone to become a manufacturer, fitter, seller or distributor of microdots in the country.
While ‘tuk-tuks’ and other motor tricycles have become increasingly popular on South African roads, one of the proposed amendments states that no person may carry a passenger in one of these vehicles for a reward (i.e. as a paid passenger).
The proposed amendment also adds that no person shall be issued with an operating licence to carry any person for reward with a motor tricycle.
Taking away your licence
In recent months the Department of Transport has made a point of clamping down on corruption in vehicle testing centres and motorists who were effectively bribing their way to a license.
As such, it has outlined the process to be followed when finding that a license has been issued fraudulently:
- According to the new amendment, upon being notified that a learner, provisional, or driver’s licence was issued irregularly (and after a full investigation has been conducted), the MEC of the province may be allowed to cancel the licence.
- The holder of the licence must then be given 14 days to explain in writing why they should be allowed to keep it.
- If the MEC of the province concerned is not satisfied with the reasons furnished, he or she shall inform the holder who is then required to hand-in the license for destruction.