Joe Strydom Side tipper truck in R512 fatal crash exposed for being unroadworthy

A man was killed when his light commercial vehicle (LCV) was crashed by a side tipper truck on the R512 Broederstroom Road in Hartbeespoort on Saturday morning the 16th of July. Pictures taken from the scene by a concerned resident have exposed the unroadworthy state of the trailers which directly affected how the truck could stop.

It’s not far-fetched to hear motorists say they won’t risk driving next to a side tipper truck unless they are passing it, for fear of being crashed into. As highlighted in many SA Trucker posts, side tipper trucks have become killer machines on South African highways due to many factors chief amongst them being driver fatigue caused by working long hours.

It becomes even more dangerous when an overworked trucker also drives an unroadworthy truck.

In this crash which FleetWatch calls “A TRAGIC DEATH THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED” from a laymen’s point of view with evidence gathered by the concerned resident, the accident was mainly caused by the unroadworthy state of the truck and trailers.

The resident said he arrived on the scene a few moments after the collision and was told by a witness that the truck allegedly tried to overtake the LCV which was going to turn right.

Read also: This is what’s killing side tipper truckers and others

“The truck could not slow down and had to turn back in to avoid a head-on with an on-coming truck. That’s when the LCV was caught under the trailer and the rig toppled over onto the LCV,” the resident told FleetWatch.

“One person mentioned to me that it seemed as if the truck’s brakes had failed coming down the hill and he couldn’t slow down behind the LCV. I said: “A truck’s brakes don’t fail unless you fail to maintain them. Let’s have a look”

“The side tippers were lying on their sides having disconnected from the 5th wheel of the truck tractor which was in the bush,” said the resident.

“I walked around the rig and immediately saw it. The brake drums of the rear axle on the rear trailer had no brake shoes. They were empty! No brakes. The second set of axles was the same. One drum with no brake shoes and the other drum had brake shoes but the gap between the drum and the shoes was so wide that it could never brake. The S-cam bushes were gone. The slack adjusters were not set properly – not that it would have any difference given that there were no brake shoes in the drums,” he said.

“I moved forward to the next set of axles on the front trailer. Same story! No brakes. No matter the exact details of the cause, that rig should never have been on the road. It was totally unroadworthy,”

“I went to the front of the truck tractor which had come to a stop in the bushes. There was no license disc or operator permit on the windscreen. I was later shown by the SAPS a temporary license (the paper) – but that had expired,” the resident added.

“That man should not have died simply because that rig should not have been on the road. It was not fit to be on the road. It is every operator’s duty to keep his trucks roadworthy. Section 49 of the Road Traffic Act spells this out very clearly under ‘Duties of an Operator’. The operator had failed in his duty and had put a death trap on the road. And it resulted in the death of a man who was much loved by his family and others in his community.”

“In the statistics, the father’s death will go down as just another one to add to the body count. But he has a name. It is Joe Strydom. And he ‘had’ a family – three of whom you can see in the photograph on the scene hurting like hell as they try to comfort each other and come to grips with the reality that their beloved dad has gone – forever”

Read also: Dangers you should be aware of on the deadly N2 between Ermelo and Richards Bay

“Yes, show them all. If they can prevent another family from going through what we are going through, then please use them. Let my dad’s death not be in vain,” the daughter of the deceased said about the pictures of the crash scene.

The good news of the commodity boom that has benefitted South Africa is being over-ridden by the bad news of the state of many of the trucks hauling those commodities for our export markets.

A truck driving on a public road in this condition is totally unacceptable and illegal. Such trucks are death chariots. In this case, it acted as one. And to all truck operators, let this tragic case act as a strong message to make sure your trucks are fully roadworthy before sending them out onto the road. And if any driver feels his truck is unsafe and unroadworthy, then don’t drive the bloody thing. Refuse to drive it until all faults are fixed. Patrick O’Leary FleetWatch