Question:

I have the following question that I hope you can help me with.

We have a mining site in Alexanderbaai but most of staff stay in the Kimberley region. We have our own Iveco bus that transports our own staff from Kimberley to Alexanderbaai and back every week. The Iveco bus can transport 22 passengers and we do not do any public transport with the bus. The bus has a sticker of 100km/h on it’s back. We want to know if the bus is permitted to ride 120km/h in the 120km/h speed zone or is it only permitted to maintain a speed op 100km/h even though it is in a 120km/h speed zone?

I would really appreciate it if you would be able to help.

Answer:

Your vehicle is a midibus, not a motor car, therefore it stands to reason that it does not have the same stability and braking capabilities of a much lighter motor vehicle. Whether you are transporting the public or not makes no difference to the injuries that could be sustained when the midibus crashes, now does it?

Under the regulation 293(1)(b)(ii) of National Road Traffic Regulations, a speed limit of 100km/h applies to a midibus in terms of its operating licence.

Regulation 293(2)(b) goes on to say:

“There shall be displayed on the rear of a motor vehicle referred to in subregulation (1)(b) a sign denoting that such vehicle is subject to a speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour, and such sign shall comply with the requirements of the standard specification referred to in paragraph (a) with respect to the colours displayed on such sign.”

Whilst an operating licence may not strictly apply to your midibus, the mere existence of the sign referred to means that it must be complied with. Strictly, the requirement applies to a vehicle that has an operating licence for public transportation, but if you think about it, a vehicle certified to carry 22 people should not be travelling at speeds above 100km/h, especially if it is loaded.

The fact of the matter is when such a vehicle crashes many people are injured or killed and that is tragic. Just look at the crash in the Free State between a Mercedes Benz and a midibus in December 2011, where 9 people burned to death in that midibus. An extra 20km/h would not make a huge difference to the journey times of the vehicle, but when it crashes, I can assure you that every kilometre an hour has an impact on the severity of such a crash.

Best Regards,

Howard Dembovsky
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)

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