The launch of the SATMC and RAF tyre safety programme included a tyre safety activation at the Gerotek Test Facility.

Tyre safety programme launched to empower traffic officers and motoring public

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The South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC), representing the four tyre manufacturers with plants in South Africa, has teamed up with the Road Accident Fund (RAF) to ramp up tyre safety education and enforcement across South Africa.

The focus will be on upskilling Traffic and Road Safety Officers and educating commuters on various aspects of tyre safety.

Data from the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC) State of Road Safety Report for the period January to December 2021 shows that 41% of crashes occurred due to tyre burst prior to the crash, while a further 15% of crashes were due to smooth tyres. Meanwhile, South Africa’s National Road Safety Strategy 2016-2030 notes that “…tyres are a major issue as both burst and smooth tyres suggest tyres not being replaced or maintained regularly enough to maintain required roadworthiness standards. To address this and other issues greater emphasis needs to be placed on law enforcement interventions aimed at ensuring that vehicles are roadworthy.”

Nduduzo Chala, SATMC Managing Executive, said: “Being the sole point of contact between a vehicle and the road, tyres play a crucial role in vehicle performance, handling, and safety on the roads. As the SATMC and RAF, we know that equipping law enforcement and road users with the knowledge of proper tyre safety is an essential step in our ongoing battle against road accidents in South Africa.”

The RAF conducts countrywide workshops, educational programmes and marketing campaigns to promote safe walking, driving, cycling, and passenger habits, and to empower the enforcement of road rules. “In this regard, we have partnered with experts in tyre usage such as the SATMC in order to continue the fight against road crash injuries and fatalities by increasing awareness and shifting the mindsets of all road users,” said RAF Road Safety Senior Manager, Siphamandla Gumbi.

The SATMC and RAF Tyre Safety Programme will include two-day training sessions for traffic and road safety officers covering topics such as the importance of tyre safety, how to identify safe tyres (including tyre construction, markings, fitment, tread depth standards, and more), how to maintain tyres properly, and the dangers of illegal and unsafe second-hand tyres.

There will be a series of educational roadshows and on-road educational roadblocks in all nine provinces of South Africa. To maximise impact, special emphasis will be placed on major transport hubs like KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, and Gauteng. A total of 12 sessions will be conducted until March 2024.

According to the SATMC, illicit trade of tyres into South Africa, coupled with the country’s unregulated second-hand tyre industry, are posing a serious threat to the safety of South African consumers.

“South Africa has seen an influx of poor-quality, non-regulated tyres and dangerous second-hand tyres, contributing to road accidents and safety concerns. A study conducted by the SATMC found that 63% of second-hand tyres sold on the roadside were, in fact, illegal waste tyres. This partnership with the RAF aims to counter these challenges by equipping traffic officers with the necessary knowledge to identify unsafe tyres and enforce regulations effectively, while providing motorists with useful information to uphold tyre safety themselves,” added Chala.

The SATMC and RAF Tyre Safety Programme was launched on 1 September 2023 at the bi-annual NAACAM Show, a premier automotive sector event that showcases excellence in South Africa’s automotive manufacturing value chain. The RAF and SATMC used this platform to raise awareness about road safety and educate stakeholders on the importance of proper tyre usage.