New Traffic Rules for Next Year

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Motorists and truck drivers will have to comply with two new traffic rules and regulations beginning next year. As part of its nationwide public awareness campaign, the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) announced amendments to the Road Traffic and Transportation Regulations last Friday. The first amendment of Regulation 211 states that it is compulsory for all goods vehicles (with a vehicle mass of over 10ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 kilograms and a length of six metres), trailers and buses are to have retro-reflective contour markings fitted on the side and rear. The bright yellow contour markings on the rear of these vehicles must be fitted more than 600 millimetres from the lower part of the body of the vehicle. The second amendment pertains to Regulation 233 and makes it compulsory for all motor vehicles to carry an emergency triangular-shaped warning sign. The sign can either be a double-sided red triangle, of which the red portion on each side must consist of a red reflective material, or it can be a red triangle with retro-reflectors on each corner. Such a warning sign must be displayed when a vehicle has a breakdown on a public road. Officially launching the public awareness campaign, Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Joel Kaapanda, said all motorists must comply with these amendments beginning of the New Year. “These amendments were necessitated by the need to comply with traffic and transportation requirements within SADC as well as legislative developments in South Africa, which have an impact on Namibian cross-border transporters that operate within South Africa,” explained Kaapanda. In light of this, the Works Ministry proposed some amendments to the Road Traffic and Transportation Regulations, which were subsequently published in the Government Gazette in November this year. The NRSC undertook an intensive awareness campaign to inform the general public about these amendments. The campaign falls well in line with the NRSC’s festive season slogan of “Get There Safe” that was launched on November 13. During the launch, Kaapanda expressed concern about the high number of accidents as a result of motorists using wrong traffic signs and at the same time not alerting other oncoming motorists about the breakdown of a vehicle. “Often, motorists will use all kinds of illegal warning signs such as tree branches or even stones. Needless to say, these can only be seen by other motorists at very close range but, by then it is always too late to react quickly enough to avoid a collision, and this has often resulted in the loss of precious lives,” stressed the Minister. In view of this problem, the triangular warning sign must be placed within a minimum distance of 45 metres behind the stationary vehicle. However, if it is on an open national road with a speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour, the distance of the sign can be even further. This sign can be bought at any hardware shop for not more than N$100 each. At the same occasion Deputy Director of the NRSC, Eugene Tendekule, said the aim of the ongoing awareness campaign is to ensure an accident-free festive season this year. “We are trying to avoid unnecessary road accidents. The transportation industry must comply, because they will face problems if their vehicles don’t have contour lines and they cross the border to other SADC countries,” added Tendekule. Because road accidents are much higher during the holiday season, the Minister cautioned truck drivers to dim their lights after sunset, as failure to do so could be dangerous for other road users. “The law has changed. So, let’s equip our vehicles to obey the law come 1st January 2007,” said Kaapanda.