New minibus taxis and trucks now have on-board 'speed cops'

01 December 2016 - 17:23 By TMG Digital
Taxi rank. File photo
Taxi rank. File photo
Image: Lebohang Mashiloane

Public transport and goods vehicles registered after today will by law require speed governers - a device installed in the vehicle electronics system that will ensure that it does not exceed prescribed speed limits.

Trucks‚ buses and minibuses also have reduced speed limits of between 80- and 100km/h.

This is in line with amendments to road traffic legislation published in 2014‚ with implementation delayed to 1 December 2016.

The Automobile Association (AA) explained: "As is often the case with complex regulations which require changes in manufacturing procedure‚ the implementation date was targeted for some years into the future."

Speed governers will be required for any minibus‚ midibus or bus‚ as well as goods vehicles with a mass exceeding 3500kg. The vehicles are required to be governed to the speed limits applicable to each category.

In the case of minibuses‚ midibuses‚ and buses‚ the governed speed will be 100km/h. Goods vehicles over 3500kg‚ but below 9000kg‚ will be governed to 100km/h in terms of a recent amendment to Regulation 293 which came into force on November 11‚ the AA said. Previously‚ they were permitted to travel at up to the maximum general speed limit of 120km/h.

Goods vehicles over 9000kg will be governed to their maximum permissible speed of 80km/h. The AA said it welcomed the changes to the law for these categories of vehicles.

“Buses and minibus taxis are frequently observed driving well in excess of posted legal limits‚ often in situations where their speed considerably exceeds that of the general traffic speed.

“The risk of such large speed differentials is well documented‚ and the introduction of governers will combat this problem over the next several years as end-of-life buses and minibus taxis are phased out and replaced with newer‚ governed models."

The AA had similar comments regarding vehicles over 9000kg‚ which are often noted to be exceeding their maximum allowable speed.

“Apart from giving rise to safety and longevity issues in heavy vehicles‚ excessive speed creates additional noise which affects communities living nearby busy roads. It needlessly increases fuel consumption and pollution. These vehicles are not designed to be operated at the general speed limit of 120km/h which is applicable to light motor vehicles‚ which is why they were restricted to 80km/h more than two decades ago‚” the AA added.

The AA also commented that the inclusion of governers on heavy vehicles will free traffic authorities from having to police speed transgressions by goods and public transport vehicles so that they can direct their enforcement resources towards moving violations‚ licensing infringements‚ and driver impairment.