The Road Traffic Management Corporation has warned all transport operators that they could face “severe consequences”, including criminal charges, if they continue to ignore duties imposed on them by regulations.
The RTMC was responding to a horrific bus crash that claimed 26 lives in Limpopo on Friday, involving a minibus taxi, truck and light delivery vehicle on the N1 between Mookgophong and Kranskop.
The Limpopo Transport Department revised the number of those killed from 27 to 26 on Saturday, EWN reported.
The RTMC on Saturday sent its condolences to the families who lost loved ones in the crash, and sent out a stern warning to operators who were flouting the law.
“Regulations impose duties on the operators to exercise control over their vehicles and drivers while on public roads,” a statement read.
“This includes the responsibility to ensure that vehicles are in a roadworthy state and drivers are fit and proper to operate those vehicles.
“Failure to execute these responsibilities could result in the cancellation of operator permits with severe consequences for businesses concerned. Vehicles can also be impounded and prevented from continuing their journeys until all defects have been repaired.
Criminal charges could be imposed where fatal crashes were involved.
The RTMC said the Limpopo crash was just one of a spate of major road crashes since the beginning of the year.
“An estimated 91 people have died while 275 were injured in major collisions involving trucks and buses throughout the country since the beginning of the year.”
Failing to keep the vehicles under control, driving in the face of coming traffic, driving at excessive speed and failing to keep a proper lookout have been identified as some of the human factors that contributed to the majority of crashes.
Conversely, mechanical failures and road conditions contributed to a very small number of the crashes, the statement said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday expressed his sadness at learning of the passing of the 26 people, amongst them two small children.
“No effort should be spared to ensure tragedies of this nature are completely avoidable. Road users are urged to exercise both courtesy and caution on our roads. It is all the more worrying considering that barely a month ago 11 people lost their lives on the same stretch of road when a bus overturned.”
Ramaphosa also praised emergency services crews and the Department of Transport for their swift actions on the scene and their efforts to get urgent medical attention to the victims.
“I repeat the message we as government continuously reinforce, more so during October which is National Transport Month – speeding can and does kill,” he added.