The chemical industry has urged drivers travelling in often congested traffic and especially during peak season times to be aware of commercial transport on the roads, as well as other traffic – especially vehicles that may be carrying heavy loads or potentially hazardous goods. Many of these loads are essential to mining operations across South Africa.
The Chemical and Allied Industries' Association (CAIA) is the custodian of Responsible Care in South Africa, a global initiative by the chemical industry to improve safety, health and environmental (SHE) standards and performance in the manufacture, transport and use of chemicals.
Together with its members and partners in the commercial transport industry, CAIA Responsible Care has intensified its efforts to improve safety standards in the transport of chemicals, which remains a key challenge given South Africa’s overall road safety record and the massive increase in commercial road freight in recent years.
The association held a series of workshops during October’s transport month to highlight the importance of issues like behaviour-based safety (BBS) training for drivers and compliance with hidden aspects of legislation for the transport of dangerous goods.
One of the common and somewhat controversial phenomena encountered on the roads at this time of year, as holidaymakers travel down to the coast en masse, is that of “yellow-lane driving” – whereby slow-moving trucks carrying heavy loads move over to the road shoulder to make way for faster moving traffic.
Richard Durrant of the Road Freight Association (RFA), one of CAIA’s partners in addressing road safety in commercial transport, says many transport operators have banned their drivers from travelling in the emergency lane at any time, because of the risks involved. However, he adds that the National Road Traffic Act allows for driving on the road shoulder on single lane roads, to allow other vehicles to overtake, under specific conditions and if it is safe to do so.
CAIA Executive Director, Dr Laurraine Lotter, says, “Trucks are not obliged to move over and some may not be allowed to, so we ask drivers to be patient and courteous in this regard and to exercise caution when overtaking heavy, slow-moving vehicles that may be transporting potentially dangerous goods.”
While heavy, slow-moving vehicles can be annoying, commercial transport makes a vital contribution to South Africa’s economy, and patience and courtesy on the roads towards other drivers goes a long way to improving traffic flow and reducing accidents.
The following is additional advice on overtaking safely:
- You may only overtake if this can be done without endangering other traffic, pedestrians or property;
- Maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles, especially large commercial vehicles. This will increase your visibility to the vehicle you are intending to pass and the driver will be able to see you in his mirrors;
- Never overtake on a blind rise or curve;
- Only overtake if you have clear visibility ahead and conditions allow;
- If you move to the yellow line to allow other traffic to pass, exercise caution when moving back into the mainstream.
The Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA) is the custodian of Responsible Care in South Africa, a global initiative by the chemical industry to continuously raise industry standards in terms of health, safety and environmental performance and ensure. Member companies sign a voluntary pledge representing their ongoing commitment to sustainability, by implementing the guiding principles of Responsible Care with regard to health, safety and the environment.
For more information visit CAIA