Truck checks expose roadgoing killers

  • 13 trucks tested – 11 trucks failed
  • Just a training exercise – but horror results
  • No brakes, forged licences, exposed

OFF COMES THE ROAD LICENCE: This truck won't be back on the road until al its faults are corrected. And, The Corner hopes, its owner severely puniched. Image: FleetWatch

OFF COMES THE ROAD LICENCE: This truck won’t be back on the road until al its faults are corrected. And, The Corner hopes, its owner severely punished. Image: FleetWatch

By PATRICK O’LEARY, FleetWatch magazine

Here’s a horror story, especially for inter-city and long-range drivers: it’s the data derived from a Brake & Tyre Watch training session in the Western Cape as reported by FleetWatch magazine in its latest issue.

It’s also a disgusting indictment of truck owners, of the drivers stupid enough to get behind the wheel of such vehicles and of the money-grubbing attitude of companies, small and large, that allow these potential killers on to South African highways.

STOPPED AND GUILTY: The list of transgressions from just ONE of the 13 trucks checked in the road blitz. Image: FleetWatch
STOPPED AND GUILTY: The list of transgressions from just ONE of the 13 trucks checked in the road blitz. Image: FleetWatch

That’s the opinion of Carman’s Corner after reading the investigative FleetWatch report by its managing editor PATRICK O’LEARY which is reproduced here with the magazine’s permission.

60 COPS OUT FOR TRAINING

Out of a total of 13 trucks randomly selected from public roads for testing in an August 2016 Brake & Tyre Watch training programme for traffic officials held in the Western Cape, only two trucks passed. No, that’s not a typing mistake – 11 out of 13 trucks tested failed the roadworthy test.

Shocking!

When FleetWatch and its Brake & Tyre Watch partners arrived in Cape Town to train some 60 or so traffic officials on how to spot signs of unroadworthiness on trucks we were hoping the results would be better than the last time we visited the Gene Louw Traffic College in Brackenfell back in in 2009.

During that exercise we recorded a 100% failure rate with 25 trucks tested and 25 failing. This time it was better – but not by much. Instead of a 100% failure rate, we got an 85% failure rate.

I say again – shocking!

BROKEN BRAKES: This brake shoe is so badly adjusted that - especially in an emergency - it would be useless. Image: FleetWatch
BROKEN BRAKES: This brake shoe is so badly adjusted that – especially in an emergency – it would be useless. Image: FleetWatch

The good news is that the cops who attended the training went away highly motivated and determined to put their newly acquired knowledge to work in their daily tasks out on the roads. Even the more advanced traffic officials from the Heavy Haulage Squad in the Western Cape – with whom we were all most impressed – said they had learned some very valuable lessons which they would certainly implement.

The full report will be carried in the next edition of our FleetWatch magazine (which The Corner also hopes to publish in support) but I’ve included here a few photographs to give a feel for the event. Meanwhile, I’ll use this opportunity to acknowledge and say a huge thanks to our partners without whom none of this would be possible.

Imperial Truck Hire sponsored a vehicle to transport the team and training material.
FleetWatch salutes Waco, Bridgestone, BPW Axles, HCV, Standard Bank, Sanral, Mix Telematics, the South African Road Federation, Loadtech (who joined us for the first time), the Imperial Road Safety Programme and Imperial Truck Rental for assistance in providing a vehicle to transport the team and branding.

A big thanks must also go to trailer expert Wolfgang Lehmann and FleetWatch technical correspondent Dave Scott for their time and expertise.

Our manufacturer partner was Mercedes-Benz which provided us with a magnificent Actros 2646 truck tractor through its Mercedes Benz Commercial Vehicles Cape Town dealer which was linked to an equally magnificent ‘tautliner’ brought all the way from Worcester by our trailer partner for the event, GRW.

FORGERY! One of the vehicle licence discs removed from trucks in the Western Cape. Image: FleetWatch
FORGERY! One of the vehicle licence discs removed from trucks in the Western Cape. Image: FleetWatch

We used this combination on the practical day to show the cops how a roadworthy rig should look and to show them the various components they had seen on the screen during presentations on the previous theory day.

‘IF WE SAVE JUST ONE LIFE…’

The enthusiastic participation of all our expert partners made this such a special project with each partner there for the right reasons – to improve road safety and reduce the road-death toll.

We have a saying among our partners: “If all this effort saves just one life, it will have been worthwhile.”

We will never know how many lives have been saved through the Brake & Tyre Watch initiative – but we do know it’s more than one.

Hats off to all our partners. You’re doing the trucking business and South Africa a great service.

For more images and the original article, visit the FleetWatch website.

ROAD WARRIORS: The FleetWatch team which took part in the truck survey. Image: FleetWatch
ROAD WARRIORS: The FleetWatch and traffic cops team which took part in the truck survey. Well done, guys! Image: FleetWatch
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