A tyre safety workshop and educational roadblock were held in Jozini this Transport Month, where more than 180 Traffic and Road Safety Officers were upskilled to spot risky or illegal tyres that pose a threat to road safety.
The officers were trained over two days from 5 to 6 October. This was part of an ongoing partnership between the Road Accident Fund (RAF) and the South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC), which represents the four tyre manufacturers with plants in South Africa. The two have joined forces to ramp up tyre safety education and enforcement across South Africa. Their focus is on empowering officers to better enforce tyre-related laws and regulations correctly and to educate commuters on various aspects of tyre safety.
As a major transport hub and crucial link for the local community and travellers accessing the broader regional road network, the Jozini N2 freeway has been the scene of numerous devastating road crashes.
Data from the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC) State of Road Safety Report for the period January to December 2021 shows that 41% of crashes occurred due to tyre burst prior to the crash, while a further 15% of crashes were due to smooth tyres. Meanwhile, South Africa’s National Road Safety Strategy 2016-2030 notes that “…tyres are a major issue as both burst and smooth tyres suggest tyres not being replaced or maintained regularly enough to maintain required roadworthiness standards. To address this and other issues greater emphasis needs to be placed on law enforcement interventions aimed at ensuring that vehicles are roadworthy.”
Nduduzo Chala, SATMC Managing Executive, said, “Being the sole point of contact between a vehicle and the road, tyres play a crucial role in vehicle performance, handling, and safety on the roads. As the SATMC and RAF, we know that equipping law enforcement and road users with the knowledge of proper tyre safety is an essential step in our ongoing battle against road accidents in South Africa.”
The RAF conducts countrywide workshops, educational programmes and marketing campaigns to promote safe walking, driving, cycling, and passenger habits, and to empower the enforcement of road rules. “In this regard, we have partnered with experts in tyre usage such as the SATMC in order to continue the fight against road crash injuries and fatalities by increasing awareness and shifting the mindsets of all road users,” said RAF Road Safety Senior Manager, Siphamandla Gumbi.
The SATMC and RAF Tyre Safety Programme in Jozini covered topics such as the importance of tyre safety, how to identify safe tyres (including tyre construction, markings, fitment, tread depth standards, and more), how to maintain tyres properly, and the dangers of illegal and unsafe second-hand tyres.
The ongoing programme will include educational roadshows and on-road educational roadblocks in all nine provinces of South Africa, with special emphasis on major transport hubs like KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, and Gauteng. A total of 12 sessions will be conducted until March 2024.
According to the SATMC, illicit trade of tyres into South Africa, coupled with the country’s unregulated second-hand tyre industry, are posing a serious threat to the safety of South African consumers.
“South Africa has seen an influx of poor-quality, non-regulated tyres and dangerous second-hand tyres, contributing to road accidents and safety concerns. A study conducted by the SATMC found that 63% of second-hand tyres sold on the roadside were, in fact, illegal waste tyres. This partnership with the RAF aims to counter these challenges by equipping traffic officers with the necessary knowledge to identify unsafe tyres and enforce regulations effectively, while providing motorists with useful information to uphold tyre safety themselves,” added Chala.