The last 25 years has seen a significant increase in the heavy vehicle volumes in South Africa since deregulation in 1989. It is estimated that currently 87% of total freight in the country is transported by road freight. The number of goods vehicles over the last decade has increased by more than 30%, with indications that this trend is set to continue. In contrast to these upward trends, the maintenance of road networks has not kept pace and the current 8 billion spent annually on road maintenance is only a quarter of the annual maintenance need of 32 billion. Furthermore, heavy vehicle overloading contributes significantly to premature road damage and increases the cost of road maintenance and vehicle operating costs. It is estimated that 15 – 20% of overloaded vehicles contribute to 60% of premature road damage.

Research indicates that there are 13 heavy vehicle fatalities per 100 million kilometres travelled in South Africa – more than 6 times that of other developed countries. There are various contributory factors such as unroadworthy vehicles, driver negligence and medically unfit drivers which have sadly become far too common place on our road networks. The challenge is for heavy vehicle operators is to prevent premature road degradation and more critically to minimise crashes and the resultant fatalities often associated with heavy vehicle collisions.

The total cost of logistics as a percentage of GDP in South Africa is almost doubles that of the United States and 50% more than that of Brazil and Japan. There is no doubt that inadequate road infrastructure as well as a high crash rate has a defined impact on transport productivity and efficiency, costing the country millions annually. And we do are all too familiar with the devastating effects that crashes have on our communities and society at large.

It is clear that as a country, we have a collective responsibility to address these issues in order to strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life of all citizens. Neither government nor the private sector can independently address the issues on our roads. Road Transport Management Systems (RTMS) is an industry-led, government-supported, voluntary self-regulatory scheme that encourages all heavy vehicle stakeholders to implement a management system with outcomes that contribute to preserving road infrastructure, improving road safety and increasing productivity.

Since implementation, RTMS has enabled the heavy vehicle industry to achieve great strides in improving road safety, preserving road infrastructure, enhancing driver wellness and supporting productivity gains. It is hoped that this publication will create an awareness of RTMS and act as a guide for organisations to effectively implement the requi The last 25 years has seen a significant increase in the heavy vehicle volumes in South Africa, since deregulation in 1989. It is estimated that currently 87% of total freight in the country is transported by road freight. The number of goods vehicles over the last decade has increased by more than 30%, with indications that this trend is set to continue. In contrast to these upward trends, the maintenance of road networks has not kept pace and the current 8 billion spent annually on road maintenance is only a quarter of the annual maintenance need of 32 billion. Furthermore, heavy vehicle overloading contributes significantly to premature road damage and increases the cost of road maintenance and vehicle operating costs. It is estimated that 15 – 20% of overloaded vehicles contribute to 60% of premature road damage.

Research indicates that there are 13 heavy vehicle fatalities per 100 million kilometres travelled in South Africa – more than 6 times that of other developed countries. There are various contributory factors such as unroadworthy vehicles, driver negligence and medically unfit drivers which have sadly become far too common place on our road networks. The challenge is for heavy vehicle operators is to prevent premature road degradation and more critically to minimise crashes and the resultant fatalities often associated with heavy vehicle collisions.

The total cost of logistics as a percentage of GDP in South Africa is almost doubles that of the United States and 50% more than that of Brazil and Japan. There is no doubt that inadequate road infrastructure as well as a high crash rate has a defined impact on transport productivity and efficiency, costing the country millions annually. And we do are all too familiar with the devastating effects that crashes have on our communities and society at large.

It is clear that as a country, we have a collective responsibility to address these issues in order to strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life of all citizens. Neither government nor the private sector can independently address the issues on our roads. Road Transport Management Systems (RTMS) is an industry-led, government-supported, voluntary self-regulatory scheme that encourages all heavy vehicle stakeholders to implement a management system with outcomes that contribute to preserving road infrastructure, improving road safety and increasing productivity.

Since implementation, RTMS has enabled the heavy vehicle industry to achieve great strides in improving road safety, preserving road infrastructure, enhancing driver wellness and supporting productivity gains. It is hoped that this publication will create an awareness of RTMS and act as a guide for organisations to effectively implement the requirements.

Acknowledgement : Dr Paul Nordengen