Government is looking at possibly introducing road worthiness tests for private vehicles every two years, a senior traffic official said at the launch of a national road safety campaign in Durban on Thursday.

Thabo Tsholetsane, the acting executive manager of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), was speaking at the launch of Operation Juggernaut – a campaign focused on eliminating unroadworthy vehicles from the country’s roads.

He said government was “doing a study” to see how often roadworthiness tests could be done.

Asked if RTMC was thinking of implementing a statutory roadworthiness testing requirement for ageing vehicles, Tsholetsane said that heavy duty lorries as well as public transportation vehicles were currently required to undergo a roadworthiness test every year.

“With 7,3 million vehicles on the country’s roads we may not be in a position to test these vehicles. We have been doing a study to see if these tests can be done.

“I suspect if this (mandatory roadworthiness testing) does happen, it will be done every two years,” he said.

Launching Operation Juggernaut, national transport minister Jeff Radebe said that between 10 to 15 percent of all fatal crashes in the country involved unroadworthy vehicles.

He said the operation would be implemented during February and would become a part of the transport department’s Rolling Enforcement Plan.

While he welcomed the decrease in lives lost during the recent festive season, Radebe said that on average 36 people were killed every day on the country’s roads.

Operation Juggernaut would also ensure that traffic authorities nationally would be able to stop and check 200 000 public transport and freight carrying vehicles, Radebe said.

“Government has committed more than R63-billion in the next four years to be used on our road infrastructure networks to enable our public transport operations to function efficiently.”

He also referred to the R9,2-billion that government has allocated to public transport for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

However, Radebe would not go into details about the plans for public transport.

He said: “We have money budgeted for a dedicate mass transport system. We also have plans for intelligent transport systems. We will be unveiling new plans.

“Public transport is enjoying a priority in government,” he said, adding that the government’s budget allocation for public transport had increased every year in recent years.