Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says last Friday’s horrific crash in Ga-Rankuwa, which claimed the lives of at least 15 people, was a result of “driver error”.
Tshwane horror crash
The minister on Friday released the accident report of the head-on collision between a bus and a truck in Tshwane that occurred on the M17 in Patryshoek.
Fifteen people, including the truck and bus driver, died on the scene while 42 people sustained injuries.
Mbalula said the accident report concluded that driver error was the major contributing factor to the cause of the crash.
This was because the truck driver allegedly allowed his vehicle to veer off its original lane of travel onto the oncoming lane, which resulted in a head-on collision.
Vehicles were roadworthy
“The report confirms that the crash happened in the early hours of the morning around 5h10.
“The bus was travelling in the southerly direction with 56 passengers on board. The truck carrying furniture was travelling in the opposite direction,” Mbalula said.
The bus and truck were found to be roadworthy.
“A full mechanical investigation was conducted on both vehicles and confirmed that there were no mechanical defects or failures that contributed to the occurrence of the crash.
“It was found that both vehicles were in a roadworthy state before the crash,” the minister said.
Weather not to blame
Weather conditions on the day of the accident were also ruled out as contributing to the deadly crash.
“It was established that weather conditions at the time of the crash were clear and this was ruled out as a contributory factor.
“The road was also found to be in fair condition and not likely to have been a cause of contributory factor in the crash.”
The minister said both drivers had valid drivers’ licences and Professional Driving Permits.
One of the drivers, who was a foreign national, had all the necessary documentation including a valid register.
Trucks on municipal roads
Mbalula further said the truck driver was not supposed to use the road because it was a municipal road.
He said authorities were noticing a new trend in which heavy truck drivers were avoiding using national and regional routes for arterial roads.
“This is where horror crashes involving multiple fatalities are now happening,” he said.
Mbalula said going forward road traffic authorities would need to revise their traffic officer deployment strategies to ensure that arterial roads received high priority in order to push heavy vehicles back on national and regional routes.
“A plan will also be put in place to hold truck and bus operators accountable for the conduct of their drivers on the road even if this warrants legislative amendments.”
Mbalula said an inquest would be conducted into the accident and the presiding magistrate would have to make a finding after the leading of evidence by eyewitnesses.
“It is unfortunate and lamentable to the extreme since both of the drivers died and consequently, no one can be charged either for reckless and negligent driving and or culpable homicide,” he said.