http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 15.23Change: -0.18
R/$ = 13.69Change: -0.15
Au 1124.81 $/ozChange: 0.71
Pt 1005.00 $/ozChange: -7.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Feb 10, 2012

Introducing ID boards for taxi drivers will reduce road carnage

Back
CoAL|Road|Roads|System|transport|Locomotive
CoAL|Road|Roads|System|transport|Locomotive
coal|road|roads|system|transport|locomotive
© Reuse this



My previous comments about road accidents and road deaths created quite a reaction, so I am going to continue with the taxi issue. In relative terms, a significant number of people are killed in taxi accidents, making taxis much more dangerous than private cars.

One appalling recent story related to a taxi driver charged with murder after he had overtaken cars at a railway level crossing. He drove past the other waiting cars on the grass verge and then ducked across the train tracks as the boom was coming down. He did not make it. A train hit his taxi and killed a number of his passengers.

A compounding factor was that, later, the taxi driver admitted that he had done that trick often before – it was just that his luck even- tually ran out. His irresponsible action resulted in a charge of murder.

There is not a week that goes by that I do not see taxi drivers driving irresponsibly.

When I was a child, my father and I would go to the railway station in Durban and watch trains for fun. These were beautiful large steam locos that puffed and hissed. On a good day, a driver would invite me up into the cab to ride a hundred metres to watch the coal being shovelled into the firebox. Terrific!

I learnt a few things about trains and their drivers. One was that each driver had a personal ‘number plate’. When a train driver arrived for work, he came carrying his personal ID board with him – in fact, two boards. Before he got into the locomotive, he put one board into a slot on each side of the driver’s cab.

The board immediately informed any observer who was in control of the train. If that driver jumped a red light or even travelled in a bad-mannered fashion, somebody would report his board number and he would be summoned after the shift. If, as a result of some disciplinary hearing, a driver’s ID boards were removed from him for any period of time, he was not permitted to work as a train driver.

We need the same system for taxi drivers. Every taxi driver is supposed to have a ‘public operating licence’ that authorises him to transport paying passengers. With that licence, the taxi drivers should be issued with four personal number plates, one for each side of the vehicle and one each for the front and the back. At any time, any person should be able to phone a central toll-free number to report that taxi ABC123 jumped a red light, or whatever. That number should positively identify the driver, not the owner of the vehicle.

These boards should be the lifeline of a taxi driver. If he is censured for bad driving, he could have his boards impounded for, say, three months. This would mean that he cannot drive a taxi during that time. If he is caught driving without legal ID boards, he should be banned for life.

Currently, drivers are not identifiable. If you report a vehicle number plate, the response is that the number identifies the vehicle owner and he was not driving. So, the driver hides very easily. That is system fault number one.

In Pretoria, there have just been shocking reports of an unroadworthy taxi being taken off the roads. It had no lights, no ignition, no speedometer or petrol gauge, worn-out tyres and even nuts missing on the wheels. Such a driver should just have his ‘ID boards’ removed for life. He must not be able to say that he was driving the boss’s vehicle because the boss told him to. The buck must stop with the guy in the driver’s seat. Imagine if an airline pilot flew like a maniac on the basis that the airline owns the plane and the pilot is not the responsible indi- vidual.

When I travel by taxi in First World countries, the drivers are dead scared of losing their public-hire licences. The Hollywood movie image of a passenger in a great hurry jumping into a taxi and telling the driver: “Go as fast as you can – I will pay any speeding fines”, is just not true. The driver has much more to lose than a speeding fine.

I have also just read in the newspaper of 24 people being arrested at a road block “for not having valid driver’s licences”. I do not know if that meant they had never passed the test for a licence at all or whether their licences had expired and just needed an administrative antifraud renewal. There is a big difference.

I got caught out with the renewal thing. I received my driver’s licence when I left school and never had to get another until this antifraud legislation came into effect, in terms of which licence renewals are needed every few years just to check that the licence is not a forgery. Mine expired and I did not know it – I received no notice.

I only found out when I booked a hire car in Cape Town. I arrived at the airport, in the evening, and went to the car hire company to pick up my booked car. (I will not mention the company name.) As I stood in the queue, I could see my contract packet in the wall rack with my name on it, as usual. I went through all the motions with the young woman at the counter until she took my licence and typed its code into her computer. Her eyes widened and she said: “Your licence has expired.” I was caught off-guard, so I replied that it was no big deal – I just had to fill in some form and send in the renewal fee.

But she refused to give me the car. I was stuck. I said: “What can we do about this?” She said: “Take a taxi.” I said that would not do because I actually needed the car in the morning as I was a guest speaker at a function and did not want to be calling a taxi first thing in the morning. She said: “Can’t help.” She added, in a shocked tone: “I can’t give a car to a person without a licence.” I got a bit irritated at that.

Then a large red-and-white board, 4 m wide, on the wall behind her caught my eye. It proclaimed: “We Try Harder.” I said to her: “Could you possibly try harder?” She said no. I explained again that I needed a car for four days and said: “Are you sure you can’t try harder?” as I wistfully looked at the red-and-white sign board behind her. No, she said, go somewhere else and call a taxi or a friend.

I said: “Don’t you have a courtesy driver or something for a case like this? I will pay for the car.” No, she said. I pleaded: “Can’t you try harder?” “No!”

My point is that there is a difference between having no licence at all, ever, and being caught out by an administrative hiccup designed to detect forged licences. I wondered if the 24 people arrested had never passed a driving test or whether they were administrative fodder for getting in more fine money. The authorities have to be honest in trying to address the real problems on the roads.

Taxis should be driven by honourable, competent, well-mannered and responsible people. That will cut the taxi death rate more than anything else.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
Recently, with much fanfare, computer tablets were distributed to a number of schools in Gauteng.  Also supplied were electronic whiteboards for teachers. Enthusiastic people explained how much this would advance education.  I am afraid that I do not agree.  I have...
The general irresponsibility of the minibus taxi industry has to be addressed as a matter of urgency.  It is getting totally out of hand.  Two recent  made yet another impact on me. The one was a totally irresponsible action that resulted in the death of two people....
I carry out strategic planning sessions for companies.  I do fault analysis of projects or tactics which went wrong in order to advise on how to fix the snags.  I also, from time to time, when invited, give business school courses on strategic and logical thinking...
More
 
 
Latest News
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu
The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) will launch 77 “catalytic projects” across the country, which will allow it to achieve its target of building 1.5-million houses over the next five years. Speaking on Thursday at a national contractors and developers workshop...
International logistics company Necotrans Group has, along with a consortium of nine Cameroonian port sector operators, the Kribi Port Multi Operators (KPMO), secured a partnership contract for the operation and maintenance of a multipurpose terminal at the...
The Gauteng provincial government’s (GPG’s) plans to transform South Africa’s most populous province into an integrated city region were gaining traction, with the GPG on Thursday outlining its plans to implement the approved e-government strategy over the next five...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Updated 7 hours ago The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) has joined forces with Tshwane North Technical, Vocational and Education and Training College (TNC) to train 100 young unemployed learners as artisans, and marked this with an event that took...
JAMES TEMPLETON The increase in distribution is as a result of Emira’s acquisitive growth
Updated 7 hours ago JSE-listed Emira Property Fund reported distributions per participatory interest (PI) of 134.27 c – a distribution growth of 9% – for the 12 months to June 20, 2015.
Updated 7 hours ago Earlier this month ground broke on South Africa’s latest four star green building – the first of its kind in the Eastern Cape. The modern three-storey office block is located within the Baywest City precinct in Port Elizabeth’s western suburbs, along the N2, and...
Updated 7 hours ago South African armoured and mine protected vehicles company Denel Vehicle Systems (DVS) has won its first order since becoming part of the Denel group at the end of April. "It's a sizeable contract," reports DVS CEO Johan Steyn. "We won the contract in July. It's a...
Updated 7 hours ago South African guided weapons, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and space company Denel Dynamics plans to increase its revenues to more than R2-billion within five years. This was reported by company CEO Tsepo Monaheng at its annual "Show and Tell" briefing in Centurion,...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96