Tuesday, December 15, 2020
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The reach of social media in addressing threats to society should not be underestimated! It stretches much further than those having access to broadband, 3G and all the technological advances. It can stimulate much further discussion and create awareness of those aspects that threaten life and limb…

As a road safety fanatic I have been behind the development of the Arrive Alive Road Safety Website for 4 years and for the past year the Road Safety & Arrive Alive Blog. This contributed to making available content on different aspects impacting on road safety and perhaps the biggest contribution has been to provide clarity on aspects raised by the public via an “Ask the Experts” section on the Discussion Forum. I have been overjoyed to receive an invite from Charl Norman to share some of the road safety information on the blog at Carblog.co.za. This will enable us to provide valuable information to a much wider audience and address a variety of concerns.

But how can this make a contribution to road safety awareness?

We often share similar concerns and would like to raise similar questions. Social media enables us to provide the correct answer to the person who raised the question – but also to others who might not have known that the answer is available from a specific source. By doing so we create more informed road user – and an informed road user might be a safer road user!

Let us give an example:

Glenn raised the following question:

“I would like to enquire on information on the road act of SA towards number plate size and shapes. I currently drive a imported vehicle but due to overheating issues can not affix a standard number plate to the front of the vehicle. I have searched the Gov act pages but can find no detail on the actual legal requirements of number plates. Could you please assist and help?”

Our expert replied with the following:

Regulation 35 prescribes the display of number plates.

Subregulation (1) refers to part 1 & 2 of SABS 1116: “Retro-reflective Registration Plates for Motor Vehicles”. The parts prescribe the technical requirements with which number plates must comply and is very difficult to be tested by test stations.

The SABS ensures that number plates are manufactured to high standards of quality, durability and visibility. The SABS inspects the manufacturers of number plates regularly to ensure the adherence to Code 1116. When checking number plates during the testing of a vehicle and the number plate bears a certification mark, it is believed that the plate complies with SABS 1116.

Some of the provisions of SABS 1116 are:

• Plates may be made of –

o aluminium sheet at least 0,9 mm thick;

o mild steel sheet at least 0,5 mm thick; or

o plastic sheet at least 3 mm thick, but not more than 4 mm

• The sizes of plates must be either –

o 440 mm x 120 mm;

o 250 mm x 205 mm;

o 520 mm x 110 mm;

o 250 mm x 165 mm; or

o 305 mm x 165 mm. (Tolerance of ± 0,5 mm).

• The colours on plates must be as prescribed for each province (for example: Gauteng = blue letters and numbers, and a white background.) Colours must be clear and distinct and comply with the specification.

• The size and style of the letters and numbers are specified (SABS 1116). They may be embossed or stuck onto the plate.

• The plate must have an embossed surrounding of 8 mm (± 1 mm) in width with a colour stripe as prescribed for each province (Gauteng = blue stripe of 5 mm width (± 1 mm)).

Item (h) prescribed that –

• the surface colour can only be white or yellow;

• only white surfaces can display a landscape or logo;

• yellow surfaces can only display letters and figures (no logo or landscape);

• figures and letters on a white surfaces can be black, dark blue, dark red, dark brown or dark green

All vehicles should have at least one in the front and one at the back except for motor cycles, motor tricycles, motor quadrucycles or trailers which may have one number plate at the back. The position, left, right or centre is not prescribed. The rear number plate must have a light fitted.

May we strive to use all the tools available in 2008 to address road safety awareness and to reduce the fatalities caused by road crashes!