Important news regarding new legislation re the transporting of children to schools in bakkies .A major regulation governing the transportation of school children comes into force in South Africa. In terms of Regulation 250 of the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA no person will be allowed to transport children in the goods compartment of a vehicle for reward. According to the Automobile Association (AA) this regulation is to be cautiously welcomed.
“The introduction is a step in the right direction insofar as it puts the issue of scholar transport high on the road safety agenda. It also means those business operators who are taking children to school in vehicles which are either notroadworthy, or not designed for passenger transport (such as bakkies), will need to repair or replace their vehicles,”
However, it should be noted, the regulation places a burden on parents whose only means of transporting their children to school is via these operators, who may, or may not, be in a position to follow the rules.
“Many parents simply don’t have a choice but to use operators whose vehicles are in a poor state. It’s a decision based on giving your child an education or not. For this reason, more reliable, accessible, safe public transport is essential, especially in rural areas, where bakkie transport is more common,” they said.
Regulation 250 also prohibits the transport of other persons in the goods compartment of vehicles for reward, unless they are enclosed in a canopy, and are not seated near any goods or tools. This regulation is aimed at improving the safety of passengers on the back of bakkies.
“This, again, is to be welcomed. However, while we believe transporting of passengers in this way is dangerous, and should be banned, it is nonetheless a step in the right direction to improving the safety of those being transported,” the Association said.
“There has been a lot of talk, especially on social media, about the reduction of speed limits, the curbing of trucks on public roads at specific times, and how drivers will have to undergo an entire new driving test to renew their licenses. None of this is happening yet. These were proposals contained in earlier documents from the Department of Transport, but none have accepted, or enacted, in any way,” the AA concluded