With cars on SA’s roads having an average age of 13 years, the RMI is calling for passenger vehicles to undergo an annual compulsory safety check to prevent accidents caused by unroadworthiness.

With cars on SA’s roads having an average age of 13 years, the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) is calling for passenger vehicles to undergo an annual compulsory safety check to prevent accidents caused by unroadworthiness.

RMI chief executive Jeff Osborne told CARtoday.com it was a problem that passenger cars in South Africa were only checked when they changed hands and, in some cases, this did not happen very often. Cars are checked every year in many other countries and the RMI has submitted a proposal to the Department of Transport to introduce similar legislation.

“The authorities have to play a role. We check our member workshops every six months. We submitted the proposal to the department in June 2001 and we are still waiting for a decision. In the meantime the carnage on our roads continues. We know a lot of the accidents are caused by vehicles suffering mechanical failure,” Osborne said.

The RMI has proposed that in the interim all passenger cars should have a certificate of safety renewed every year. “This would entail six safety checks: brakes, tyres, steering, lights, windscreens and safety belts,” he said.

Osborne said they also want public transport vehicles and trucks to undergo roadworthiness tests every six months. “Some of the taxis on our roads are in shocking condition,” he said.

Osborne told that, of the vehicles on South Africa’s roads, more than three million cars were older than three years and half of them were unroadworthy. He said half of the 1,3 million light commercial vehicles were older than 10 years, while about 500 000 coulc be unroadworthy.

"The RMI can assist to curtail corruption with the issuing of these certificates through its National Vehicle Testing Association," said Jeff Osborne.

"But it will only be through tough and very visible law enforcement linked to a wide public education and information campaign that the current ‘no care' public attitude could be changed. The RMI is in a unique position to assist in a number of ways through its 7 000 members, but then the authorities must invite us to the party."

In October last year, the Tshwane Metro Police also called for legislation to be changed to force trucks, buses and taxis to undergo roadworthiness tests more often. Their call came after a heavy-duty truck lost control and injured 24 people in Pretoria.

“These vehicles only need to be checked once a year at the moment, but we find they may have the certificates, but are not roadworthy. This is happening because they are not maintaining the vehicles after getting the certificates. If they are checked quarterly they will be forced to ensure their vehicles remain roadworthy,” Tshwane spokesman Matlhodi Malope said at the time.

Original article from Car