Current heavy-duty driver’s test system insufficient


Experienced driver training for professional heavy-duty drivers is “essential” if South Africa wants to cut down on road accidents, according to road traffic legal guru, Alta Swanepoel.

She told FTW Online that the current testing system was designed to ensure drivers passed the test but not to ensure they were experienced enough to handle the unpredictable aspects of heavy traffic during difficult conditions.

“Even the driving schools provide a service to help their students pass, not necessarily become good drivers,” said Swanepoel, highlighting that in European countries as well as the United Kingdom and the United States, the drivers’ tests for professional drivers always included some type of driving experience test.

“In South Africa, the driving candidates are never tested on a busy highway and nor do the vehicles exceed 60 kilometres per hour during the test. Therefore it’s not certain how well the driver can handle the vehicle when facing challenges on the road,” she pointed out.

Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) spokesperson, Simon Zwane, agreed, pointing out that the K53 test was no longer relevant for South African drivers.

“The K53 has not been revised since it was introduced in South Africa, and a lot has happened. Even the technology used in vehicles is far more advanced,” he said. The RTMC has called for a revision of the way drivers are currently tested.

-Adele Mackenzie


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