By Sanette Viljoen
The road fatality figure in South Africa is excessively high. You can walk through any parking area and just look at the vehicles’ tyre tread to see that a large percentage of vehicles on our roads are unroadworthy.
On 11 October 2013 a magistrate passed a sentence that hopefully will serve as deterrent for truck owners or any person whose vehicle is unroadworthy. This sentence is not aimed at the drivers of unroadworthy vehicles, but at the owners.
The magistrate sentenced the owner of the truck, which was unroadworthy and in 2010 led to the death of two persons, to seven years direct imprisonment. The owner was found guilty on two charges of manslaughter. The magistrate stated that the vehicle definitely was unroadworthy and, according to the court report, the brakes as well as the steering wheel were faulty.
Bus companies, transport companies, farming industries and anyone who allow another person to drive their vehicles (including buses, trucks, taxis, tractors, learner-driver vehicles etc.) must take note of this order. The court charged the owner, not the driver, with manslaughter.
An unroadworthy vehicle can also influence the paying out of insurance.
In the case of an accident where such a vehicle was involved, the owner and the driver will be prosecuted on different grounds of negligence, therefore make sure that your vehicles are roadworthy. After all, this goes along with the pleasure you derive from owning a motorcar.