The Windy City of Port Elizabeth is where our team headed towards the end of last year for our last FleetWatch Brake & Tyre Watch project for 2009. We found a group of dedicated, enthusiastic and willing to learn cops but an unused and faulty brake roller tester at the Kinkelbos Traffic Centre was a downside writes Patrick O’Leary.

Port Elizabeth is a strategically situated point along the N2 and it is here, at the Struandale Training Centre, that our team gave theoretical training to over 80 traffic officials on the first day of the operation.

With our three stalwart partners, Bridgestone, Wabco and HCV on board as the foundation rock on which Brake & Tyre Watch has been built, we were thrilled to welcome as a partner – for the second time - the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) and - for the first time - Isuzu Trucks South Africa.

SANRAL last joined us when we took Brake & Tyre Watch to Kroonstad and sourced trucks from the N1 for testing. As for Isuzu Trucks, we decided some time ago to invite a different truck manufacturer to each of our Brake & Tyre Watch exercises so as to expose them to what we are doing and to some of the realities being faced out there. Along with our traditional partners, both SANRAL and Isuzu got into the spirit with great gusto participating wholeheartedly and dynamically adding value in no uncertain ways.

After a day’s presentations and training which ended in a hands-on inspection of an Isuzu Gigamax 70-460 model loaned to us by Isuzu  Trucks, we started the second day by heading out to the Kinkelbos Traffic Centre about 50 kilometres outside of Port Elizabeth. It is an ideal test centre equipped with a weigh bridge, a brake roller tester and an inspection pit. It all looked great – but, not so great as we were to later find out.

Positioned alongside the N2, it was here that we spent a day with the cops taking trucks off the road and testing them for roadworthiness with the main accent being on training the traffic officials to spot the signs of an unroadworthy and unmaintained truck. The disadvantage of being so far out from Port Elizabeth is that we missed testing urban/city trucks many of which - from our past experiences - are really shagged out.

Six out of fifteen

Be that as it may, a total of 33 vehicles were brought in for weighing and testing. Of these, 18 were weighed and 15 were both weighed and tested. Of the 15 vehicles weighed and tested, six were given Discontinuation of Service notices and were taken off the road. Some of those that were allowed to go were, however, issued with fines for various transgressions.

The reason more trucks were weighed than fully tested is because the brake roller tester equipment ‘broke down’ around midday. That intrepid and highly knowledgeable man from Wabco, Keir Guild, did everything he could to get the meters to work but it was all in vain. The dials sat ‘vas’. It was over.

The story behind this is that when members of the FleetWatch team arrived two days before the exercise to check the lie of the land, they found the brake roller testing equipment was not functioning. In fact, the rollers themselves were rusted which meant they had not been used for some time. To their credit, the Port Elizabeth authorities immediately flew in some experts from Johannesburg to fix the problem. This was done the day before the tests. Unfortunately, the fix proved to be a temporary one and it was just before lunch that it all went on the blink. Now here’s the point. I asked one of the officers when last the brake roller tester had been used. Given that it had been rusted when our advance team arrived, I guessed it must have quite a few months. I was out by quite a bit.

“No,” he replied. “It’s been about four or five years.”

I was amazed. Here was a fully equipped test centre alongside a main route along which hundreds of trucks travel and it had only been used for weighing rather than for the full testing of trucks. How many unroadworthy trucks have passed through that centre over the years without being tested? One can only begin to guess. On the day we were there, we took off six out of fifteen – and that was using the equipment for just half a day. So you do the extrapolation…

I highlight this not to castigate the traffic authorities in this area but rather to highlight this as an area of concern on a national level. The equipment and facilities are not being used by traffic officials and my guess is that the fault lies in training – or the lack of it.

At the Kroonstad weighbridge, we found a brand new brake roller tester still wrapped in its plastic – and it had been there for some years without being installed. What a waste.

Elsewhere in this edition, FleetWatch correspondent Paul Collings tells of the time he went to visit the Donkerhoek weighbridge and vehicle test facility alongside the N12, north-east of Pretoria. While the weighbridge was functioning, the adjoining vehicle test centre - equipped with a hugely expensive high-tech brake roller tester - stood unmanned. When asked why no trucks were being taken over the inspection pit, the commanding officer stated: “We can’t find anybody with the skills to operate the testing equipment!”

In his training presentation to the traffic officials in Port Elizabeth, Wabco’s Keir Guild asked the question: “How do we regulate heavy loads on the roads?” The answer he gave was “with weighbridges”. He then asked: “How do we regulate safety on our roads?” The answer he gave to this was ‘Prevention by Inspection’. From our experience conducting Brake & Tyre Watch around the country, there is little prevention by inspection being conducted and this needs to change.

To change things for the better is one of the objectives of Brake & Tyre Watch and it is encouraging that when we left, the traffic officials were peeved off that their equipment had failed them. Having seen first hand how useful it is in enabling them to better do their jobs, they felt slighted that it had failed them and assured us they were going to request that new equipment be installed.

That aside, FleetWatch must compliment the traffic officials who attended this exercise. Their enthusiasm was clearly evident and their willingness to learn admirable. Without a doubt, the two-day exercise empowered them to better do their jobs.

We must also compliment the operators who use the N2 on exhibiting a higher level of responsibility towards keeping their vehicles in a roadworthy state than we’ve seen in other areas. This is probably the best result we have seen from the various provinces and roads we have taken Brake & Tyre Watch to. Keep it up guys.

That said - and as the accompanying photographs show - we still picked up some horrible faults which tell us that there are operators using the N2 who don’t give two hoots about road safety. Their trucks ended up in the yard – off the road where they belong.

And if the enthusiasm of the traffic officials to continue practicing what they were taught is anything to go by, such operators will either have to clean up their acts or have their trucks end up in the yard again – and again – and again until they learn that there is no compromise when it comes to road safety.

Have a look at the accompanying photographs of faults found and please learn from them. Check your own rigs to ensure that you are not part of the problem out there.  

 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

Where to with brake trends - FleetWatch …

26-08-2017

A visit to the Hannover Commercial Truck show in Germany last year showed just how much development has, and still is taking place in the field of braking. If you're...

Read more

WABCO SmartBoard unit - FleetWatch Magaz…

26-08-2017

WABCO's SmartBoard unit brings new levels of ease and precision to trailer management, making them work harder for more profit. WABCO, a world leader in the development and supply of vehicle...

Read more

WABCO brakes new ground - FOCUS Magazine

26-08-2017

WABCO brakes new ground - FOCUS Magazine

Thursday, 01 November 2012 12:00 Charleen Clarke Safety and efficiency. Those are the two items on Wabco’s wish list. That’s according to Jacques Esculier, chairman and CEO of...

Read more

Trailer software brings firsts - FleetWa…

26-08-2017

Trailer software brings firsts - FleetWatch Magazine

While some trailer buyers may cringe at the notion of spending a cent more on a vehicle that seemingly does the job with a load deck, a set of wheels...

Read more

The inexorable march of hi-tech stopping…

26-08-2017

The inexorable march of hi-tech stopping power - FleetWatch Magazine

The advances made in truck brake technology in recent years have redefined the notion of bringing a vehicle to a dead stop. It’s no longer only about discs and drums...

Read more

Technology to suit - FleetWatch Magazine

26-08-2017

Technology to suit - FleetWatch Magazine

In an era of high tech electronics, it is interesting to note Toyota South Africa Trucks' approach toward the incorporation of 'selective' electronics and other high-tech features on its new...

Read more

Running-in a new trailer? - FleetWatch M…

26-08-2017

What? Running-in a new trailer? You gotta be joking! Man, that's for grandpa's garage. In fact, truckers will tell you that providing you are using the correctly specified lubricant, you...

Read more

Necessity: the mother of invention - F…

26-08-2017

Necessity: the mother of invention   - FOCUS Magazine

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 09:00 Udo Rypstra   The concept of a multi-purpose tridem semi-trailer has been tried before, and not with much success. But this time round, the...

Read more

Leading the way with greener trailers -…

26-08-2017

Leading the way with greener trailers  - FOCUS Magazine

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 12:00 FOCUS Reporter Serco Industries, a leading manufacturer of truck bodies and trailers, is excited that two of its new refrigerated trailers will be used...

Read more

Keeping it real - FOCUS Magazine

26-08-2017

Keeping it real - FOCUS Magazine

Saturday, 01 August 2009 10:00 Nadine von Moltke Plummeting new vehicle sales have led to a more buoyant second-hand market, as well as a move by operators to...

Read more

Faulty Equipment mars the day - FleetWat…

26-08-2017

Faulty Equipment mars the day - FleetWatch Magazine

The Windy City of Port Elizabeth is where our team headed towards the end of last year for our last FleetWatch Brake & Tyre Watch project for 2009. We...

Read more

Faking it - FOCUS Magazine

26-08-2017

Faking it - FOCUS Magazine

Tuesday, 01 December 2009 09:00 Nadine von Moltke When a safety critical item fails on a truck or trailer the repercussions can be extensive, from expensive down time right...

Read more

EBS gains traction in local market - The…

26-08-2017

EBS gains traction in local market - The Road Ahead

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 Electronic brake system, or ‘brake by wire’, integrates ABS technology, electronic stability control and other key vehicle control system features to deliver a whole new level of...

Read more

Copy parts are not cheap parts - Cape Bu…

26-08-2017

Copy parts are not cheap parts - Cape Business News

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 WABCO Automotive SA has issued a caution to customers against using copy parts in original WABCO systems. “Copy parts may fail more frequently than original parts and...

Read more

Braking up the industry - FOCUS Magazin…

26-08-2017

Braking up the industry  - FOCUS Magazine

Thursday, 01 March 2012 09:00 Danielle du Toit There are two types of freight operators – those who look after their brakes and those who don’t. DANIELLE DU...

Read more

Braking towards ZERO accidents - FleetWa…

26-08-2017

Braking towards ZERO accidents - FleetWatch Magazine

Reversing a trailer is one of the most dangerous truck and trailer operating procedures with statistics indicating that up to 35% of incidents involving trailer damage - colliding with pallets,...

Read more

Better Brake Tech - FleetWatch Magazine

26-08-2017

Better Brake Tech - FleetWatch Magazine

  Just when you thought you’d got a handle on the meaning and workings of ABS and EBS, the world’s leading brake system developers come to the party with a host...

Read more

Raising funds on the fairway - FOCUS ma…

26-08-2017

 Raising funds on the fairway - FOCUS magazine

Friday, 01 March 2013 12:00 Blair Burmeister Valentine’s Day had its limelight stolen this year by a very deserving cause – the annual Edutrans golf day hosted by Charmont...

Read more
Go to top
JSN Boot template designed by JoomlaShine.com