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Drivers of heavy vehicles who are ignoring the compulsory heavy vehicle only-lane at the bottom of Ou Kaapse Weg will, from Monday 10 December 2018, be subject to prosecution.

The City of Cape Town wants to warn the drivers of light motor vehicles using the heavy vehicle lane that those road users who fail to comply with the stop line will not be exempted from being fined.

The City has recently completed the installation of the final phase of a high-tech automated camera enforcement system relating to the compulsory heavy vehicle stop on the Ou Kaapse Weg approach to Steenberg Road. The system is capable of capturing numerous transgressions and is expected to further improve traffic safety on this downhill approach.

The City has also recently upgraded the signage along Ou Kaapse Weg to clarify the correct usage of the compulsory truck stop on Ou Kaapse Weg. 

Although the previous signage was legally enforceable, it has been revised in response to feedback from motorists who indicated that they did not understand the signage. The signage upgrade was completed on 11 May 2018. 

The upgraded signage system comprises two sets of signage which convey what actions are expected from the drivers of light motor vehicles and heavy vehicles, respectively. 

‘The signs are repeated three times in each case. In so doing we’re exceeding the minimum legal requirements by far. Relevant regulatory signs are also displayed at appropriate positions. We’ve opted to upgrade signage to exceed the minimum standards in a bid to achieve greater levels of compliance and in the interest of road safety,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Alderman Felicity Purchase. 

The meaning of the relevant signs encountered along the route as well as the action required from motorists is clarified below:

The sign above indicates that all drivers of heavy vehicles exceeding 3,5 tons, including buses, must enter the compulsory stop lane and bring their vehicles to a complete halt in compliance with the stop sign and road markings displayed in that lane. The sign also indicates that the compulsory stop is 200 m ahead.

The sign furthermore bans buses and vehicles above 3,5 tons from using the through lane.

All other vehicles under 3,5 tons, including most passenger vehicles, bakkies and SUVs, are prohibited from entering or using the compulsory heavy vehicle stop lane.

This safety measure is intended to drastically reduce the incidence of runaway heavy vehicles.

The sign below advises that there is a new lane 400 m ahead which is specifically reserved for all vehicles exceeding a mass of 3,5 tons; and the reservation sign indicates that light motor vehicles are prohibited from entering or using that lane.

At the commencement point of the new lane, the following regulatory and prohibition signs are on display. These signs reiterate the advance message as per the 400 m signage above.

‘The automated enforcement which currently takes place for any vehicle transgressing the stop sign in the heavy vehicle lane will be expanded to include other traffic transgressions as of Monday. These will include automated monitoring of vehicles in excess of 3,5 tons failing to enter the compulsory heavy vehicle lane, and light motor vehicles abusing the heavy vehicle lane.

‘Drivers of light motor vehicles should take note that those who disregard the regulatory reservation signs applicable to heavy vehicles will be automatically charged with that offence, as well as for failure to obey a stop sign, ‘said Alderman Purchase. 

‘The purpose of this system is to prevent crashes involving runaway heavy vehicles, which typically occur at the Steenberg Road junction and not at the tighter hairpin bend further up the hill. These collisions mostly relate to drivers of heavy vehicles misjudging the extent of the downhill grade. This solution ensures that heavy vehicle drivers maintain lower gears and therefore preserve their brakes in order to stop at the compulsory stop,’ said Alderman Purchase.

Other road users should expect that heavier vehicles will proceed downhill at slower speeds for this reason.

‘This intervention is implemented in line with our commitment to prioritising the safety of commuters on our roads. Thanks to the technology, we can now be sure that accurate information is captured and that our efforts are supported. Although it is still too soon to speak about the successes of this intervention, it seems to have had a positive effect on road safety thus far,’ said Alderman Purchase.