Bridgestone offered a two-day course in tyre safety for Free State traffic officers in Bloemfontein on 25-26 November 2022. The training is part of an ongoing partnership between the South African Tyre Manufacturers’ Conference (SATMC), which represents the four local tyre manufacturers, and the South African Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), in support of the National Road Safety Strategy 2016-2030.
RTMC figures for 2021 show that vehicle factors account for around 7% of road accidents, with tyres being the major contributor. Burst tyres account for around 37% of accidents caused by vehicle factors, and smooth tyres for a further 5%. Safer Vehicles is one of the pillars of the National Road Safety Strategy.
SATMC members have been partnering with the RMTC over the past two years to offer the training, and the partnership will continue in 2023. It’s heartening to note that when the National Road Safety Strategy 2016-2030 was published, vehicle factors accounted for 14.1% of all accidents, with burst tyres at 74.3% and smooth tyres at 5.7% the major causes of those accidents. The decline of these figures in 2021, as noted above, is an indication of how effective interventions like this one have been.
The training included one day of classroom-based teaching, which aimed to give officers insight into how tyres are manufactured and how to assess their roadworthiness, along with the legal regulations relating to tyres contained in Section 212 of the National Road Traffic Act. The second day focused on practical application of what had been learned at a roadblock set up by the relevant traffic department. The instructor helped the officers inspect stopped vehicles and guided them through thorough tyre assessments. Motorists were also given handouts providing useful information to help them perform self-assessments of their tyres.
“As a good corporate citizen, Bridgestone is committed to improving road safety by giving both traffic officers and motorists the expert information they need to improve tyre safety and thus reduce the high number of fatalities on our roads—especially as we head into the holiday season,” says Dries Venter, Technical Manager, Bridgestone Southern Africa, who conducted the training.
“The SATMC is very appreciative of the willingness of our members, like Bridgestone in this case, to join us in this partnership with the RMTC. We are making real headway in upskilling traffic officers in this important aspect of road safety. As important, we are also building awareness among the motoring public of how important tyre safety is and how to monitor the condition of their tyres to prevent accidents,” says Nduduzo Chala, Managing Executive, SATMC. “We look forward to continuing the good work next year with the help of Bridgestone and our other members.”