â€œThere is no such thing as accident, it is a fate misnamed.â€
This message put in plain words by the world-renowned humorist and writer Mark Twain sometime ago, has necessitated that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) in conjunction with SA Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) and the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) pay out tens of thousands of rands in trying to explain the â€œfate misnamedâ€ through commercial advertising communication in a nationwide crusade to reduce road accidents.
Shocking road accident statistics in current assessments on the highways in anticipation of the upcoming long- weekend holidays imposed demands on the two labour institutions together with tyre manufacturersâ€™ conference to put their act together in a bid to spare lives and save metalworkersâ€™ jobs in the tyre industry.
The stats indicate that one in four of the deadly accidents were caused by worn out, damaged or under-inflated tyres and in some instances poor vehicle maintenance such that a taxi operating without a steering wheel, just using a shifting spanner to control turns on the road was spotted in a recent survey.
Almost 25 percent of the road accidents were caused by faulty and damaged tyres and poor vehicle maintenance.
The investigation singled out tyres and brakes as the overriding contributors to mechanical defects causing accidents with overloading also being a supplementary cause as well.
Another disturbing feature is that 11 million tyres scrapped every year were often refitted back onto vehicles. Legislation recently passed will hopefully ensure that tyre dealers recycled all their tyres.
Chinaâ€™s tyre dumping activities into the country has gone up 2 300 percent from 108 039 in the year 2000 to 1 057 312 and the worst is that the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) does not regulate second hand tyres in the midst of worst job destruction in the tyre industry.
These imported tyres over and over again come in under-invoiced so as to attract less duty and others are dumped resulting in industry production to drop by more or less 40 percent, with tyre prices suppressed.
Escalating use of illegal half- ton Toyota Ventures and often overloaded Condors as taxis with excessive baggage has aggravated the worst situation on the roads.
And for the reason that law enforcement with regard to smooth tyres is found wanting, Numsa and its campaign partners have decided to distribute pamphlets to metalworkers advising commuters on how to spot dangerous vehicles that should not be used, especially for long weekend holiday travels.
Commuters are urged in the campaign themed:â€ Save Lives, Save Jobs- Check the vehicle you travel in,â€ to be on the look out for tyres with repairs on the sidewall or sometimes repair plugs sticking out of the side wall which possibly will fail at some stage of pressure when overloaded.
Mismatched bolts and buldges on the sidewall are very dangerous. Taxis are the worst culprits while trucks were found to lead in the mismatching of tyres on dual wheels which often resulted in fire because of rubbing tyres.
Samwu deputy general secretary comrade Walter Theledi, representing metro police workers, further urged metro police monitoring the vehicles on the roads to take strong action against those with smooth or damaged tyres with wires sticking out of the tread and missing spare wheels on long- distance taxis during the campaign.
Compliance is not that difficult but only if you know the law requirements.
It isnâ€™t what you donâ€™t know that gets you into trouble; it is what you know for sure that just isnâ€™t so. And this explains indeed the fate misnamed or the myth surrounding the cause of accidents.
For further information contact:
Irvin Jim, Numsa general secretary
Mobile: 073 159 6384
Dr Etienne Human, CEO, SA Tyre Manufacturers Conference
Tel: 011-791-1449 or 011-792-0359Mobile: 083-655-3185
Walter Theledi, deputy general secretary, Samwu
Mobile: 082 558 6580
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