180 000 buses and taxis to be checked for roadworthiness.

With more vehicles back on the road – now that schools have reopened and people are back at work – an intensive operation targeting all freight and passenger vehicles will soon get under way.

This operation comes soon after the festive season and New Year operations.

Thandi Moya, spokesperson at the Road Traffic Management Corporation, said “Operation Juggernaut” will be a countrywide operation starting next month and they were hoping to screen at least 180 000 vehicles and drivers.

At least 15% of road crashes are caused by unroadworthy vehicles.

Moya said all freight and passenger-carrying vehicles including commuter buses, luxury coaches, taxis, metered taxis, learner transport vehicles and heavy goods vehicles will be targeted.

“When freight and passenger-carrying transport vehicles are involved in a crash, the potential loss of life and damage is always very high,” she said.

“When vehicles lose their loads, damage to the road surfaces and subsequent road closures mean huge delays and loss of productivity. The loss of lives is high in these types of crashes and must be avoided at all costs,” she said.

Moya said a similar operation during Public Transport Month in October last year netted more than 1 200 public transport drivers for a range of offences from driver fitness, moving violations and documentation.

She said most of the prosecutions were effected in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape.

Moya said that this operation would ensure that all scholars were transported in vehicles that were roadworthy and by drivers who were fit to transport them.

“The transporting of scholars is a major problem, especially in the rural areas.

“All drivers carrying passengers for reward must be in the possession of a Professional Driving Permit,” she said.

Transport Minister Jeff Radebe said the momentum of the festive season operation will be maintained throughout the year and not only during the two peak seasons – the Christmas and Easter periods.

“Through this operation we aim to improve law compliance of freight and passenger transport vehicles and also on buses, mini-bus taxis, metered taxis, learner transport vehicles and luxury coaches,” he said.

“Checks will be conducted for driver fitness, vehicle fitness and moving violations to ensure that non-compliance is brought down.”

Radebe said the objectives of operations were to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries by increasing visible and effective policing on particular dates in specific locations.

“We hope to increase detection and prosecution of critical offences,” he said.

Radebe said that traffic officials would carry out roadblocks, roadside checks, roving patrols, speed monitoring at strategic points where crashes were prevalent, plus road safety awareness campaigns.

Metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said they would assist traffic officials with their operations.