Amended traffic laws aimed at improving road safety

WALVIS BAY

08 December 2017 | Accidents

Otis Finck



The laws have changed with regard to the enforcement of admission of guilt fines for the violation of a number of Road Traffic and Transport Regulations.

“Due to the absence of fines, the amended regulations could not be enforced. The minister of works and transport, Alpheus !Naruseb, subsequently announced the fines and urged all traffic law enforcement agents to diligently enforce the changes via a circular. We encourage them to impose a number of fines introduced and geared towards improving the road safety situation in the country,” said Walvis Bay traffic chief Eben Platt.

He pointed out that the magistracy approved fines for an admission of guilt and no admission of guilt “to drive a motor vehicle to convey passengers for reward while the license was not endorsed with a Professional Authorisation (PA)”. Such offenders will no longer pay a N$2 000 admission of guilt fine. Instead, any person (taxi drivers in particular) guilty of this offense will be locked up and charged.

This offence was criminalised due to increasing incidents of criminals who disguise themselves as taxi drivers only to prey on innocent commuters. Other transport operators are also included. The application of a PA is subject to a criminal record check by Nampol, a medical examination and an eye test to be conducted by Natis to determine general fitness.

Platt emphasised that many so called seven-seater taxi drivers are transporting people for payment without proper documentation (road transport permits).

“These vehicles are not fit to transport people and passengers carry their luggage with them on the seats. This is a countrywide problem. Drivers of such vehicles are encouraged to obtain legal documents for transporting people.”

He added that people who drive shuttles, local and long distance taxis and transport people, should be 25 or older.

Platt further said that drivers will also be fined N$250 for not switching on their headlights while driving on national or main roads.

“Regulation 178 (4) dictates that the headlamps (dipped beam) or daytime running lamps must be switched on when driving a motor vehicle outside an urban area on a public road.”

Research has shown that many head-on crashes are a result of vehicles that are not visible due to weather conditions or the colour of certain vehicles. Driving with headlamps switched on increases the chances to see and to be seen.

He also cautioned that vehicles fitted with LED lamps will be removed from the road and taken to a testing ground since this is not allowed in Namibia.

“LED lights emit a dangerous glare which blinds other drivers. Officials have been instructed to remove light bars at road blocks.”

Regulation 266 (1) proposes a fine of N$500 per person in excess when a driver is found conveying more than 6 passengers in the goods compartment of a vehicle not exceeding a Gross Vehicle Mass of 3 500 kg on a public road.

“This applies to drivers transporting people on the back of pickups or bakkies. Only six people are allowed on the back/loading bay of a bakkie. Any extra person/s will be fined N$500 each. In addition the vehicle must have an enclosed height of at least 900 mm from the floor surface upon which a person is seated and with material of sufficient strength to prevent a person from falling from the vehicle when it is in motion.”

Platt further said that no person is allowed at the back of tip trucks.

"It is totally prohibited. These are vehicles intended for transporting goods and not people. Transporting passengers in the goods compartment is extremely dangerous and is highly discouraged. Limiting the number is an integration process aimed at outlawing the practice in future,” he said.

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