Vehicles caught overloading are liable to be charged R300 per person and taxis impounded
Police were shocked when they stopped a taxi near Shaka’s Head last Friday – and found it jam-packed with 44 school pupils.
Together with the driver and conductor, this was more than three times the legal limit for the 15-seater taxi.
“The driver sped past us and we chased him for a while before he pulled over,” said Umhlali SAPS spokesperson Vinny Pillay.
“Children going to Sizani School in Foxhill were packed into the taxi and there was barely space to move.”
Pillay said the overloading of taxis and speeding, particularly in Shakaskraal and Shaka’s Head areas, was a big problem. Last year police found a taxi carrying 33 adult passengers.
He said that there had been many cases where children were badly injured after falling out of moving, overloaded taxis and warned that police would be clamping down hard on taxi drivers as well as private vehicles caught overloading.
Pillay explained that greedy taxi drivers were trying to make extra money for themselves by overloading.
“The taxi owners will give their driver a list of the loads they need to do and the times. For example, they would have to do two loads of school children, the first pick up starting maybe at 6am and the second at 7.30am.
“But the drivers transport a load of workers at 6am and at 7.30am they will cram in two loads of children and rush them to school. They then pocket the money from the first load. “There are private vans and bakkies that are guilty of overloading too.”
Dolphin Coast taxi association chairperson Richard David condemned the overloading – particularly of school children – and said the behavior was selfish.
“There are laws and drivers need to learn to stick to them. Taxi owners need to be aware of what is going on. They need to find a way to monitor their drivers because at the end of the day, they will be questioned and responsible if anyone is injured.”
Vehicles caught overloading are liable to be charged R300 per person and taxis impounded.
According to KZN transport department com – munications officer Kwanele Ncalane, a positive development is amendments to the national road traffic regulations will soon be put in place. One of the regulations set to come into effect from May 11 will prohibit bakkie drivers from transporting children in the back of their vehicles.
“There are draft amendments that will have to be published for public comment before they are implemented and those regulations will see stricter speed regulations placed on heavy goods vehicles.
“Drivers will have to undergo a practical reevaluation when renewing a licence and a complete review and revamp of the current K53 test.
“Speed limits could be reduced from 60km/h to 40km/h in urban areas, from 100 to 80km/h in rural areas and from 120 to 100km/h on freeways running through a residential area,” said Ncalane.