No doubt many motorists have been on the receiving end of ZRP Traffic’s latest blitz - on breakdown triangles………… The compulsory triangles are completely over-specified in the regulations and ZRP Traffic have seized this opportunity to extract more funds from the long suffering and weary motoring public.
The requirement for all motorists to carry two emergency breakdown triangles (or ‘Special Visual Warning Devices’ as they are termed in the regulations) is not new and was introduced in the Road Traffic Act (Construction, Equipment and Use) regulations SI 154/2010. The latter legislation was subsequently nullified but was replaced by SI 129/2015 in December 2015 with the requirement for breakdown triangles unchanged.
Unfortunately for the motorist, once again it is a case of no triangles available in Zimbabwe (and probably elsewhere) comply with the minutiae of Section 52 and the Sixth Schedule of SI 129/2015. These are as follows:-
· Triangles must be permanently and legibly marked with (a) name of manufacturer and (b) year of manufacture.
· The triangles shall be made of aluminum or flexible plastic which does not break easily on bending.
· Instructions on how to place the triangles must be affixed to the triangle.
· The triangle can incorporate glass type circular reflectors at each apex.
· The edges of the triangle must be ridged
· Dimensions: sides – 50mm wide, length of sides - 425mm, ridge - 5mm.
· A second pair of triangles must be carried if a trailer is towed.
· The triangles must be “carried in an opaque protective container or secured in a light-tight, enclosed and easily accessible compartment in the motor vehicle or trailer concerned”.
Regrettably it appears that all triangles available locally lack one or more of the following features:-
ü The most commonly available triangles are 300mm along the sides of the triangle, not the 425mm required. (Boxed folding triangles are usually of the correct size.)
ü No name of manufacturer and no serial number inscribed.
ü No year of manufacture inscribed.
ü Not reflective of both sides (in the case of the folding triangles).
ü Do not have the precise instructions for use affixed to the triangle.
Other than amending the regulations, it is difficult to see how this issue can be remedied. The same over-specification applied to fire extinguishers in the nullified regulations but the requirements were relaxed in the current issue. It is ironic that the breakdown triangles supplied with new vehicles from major motor manufacturers such as Mercedes and Toyota are perfectly acceptable in the EU and elsewhere, but not in Zimbabwe.
Regrettably it is evident that the police actions have absolutely nothing to do with promoting road safety but are simply revenue gathering exercises. ZRP have been engaged on the matter and although the ZRP hierarchy generally claim that they have no problem with any breakdown triangles that serve their purpose, this is not the case on the ground at the police roadblocks. Either the official policy is not filtered down to the lower ranks, or there is a lack of motivation to curtail the excesses of the police at roadblocks.
The fine for no triangles or incorrect specification triangles has been variously given as $10 or $15.
In Harare, Breakdown Triangles which have been “retro-fitted” with reflective tape and which should be acceptable to ZRP are available from Big Sky Supplies at shop No. 9 Pomona Shopping Centre in Borrowdale. Telephone: (04) 851002
AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION OF ZIMBABWE (MATABELELAND BRANCH)
Finally, as an AAZ member, you have a motoring peace of mind with a manned 24 hour Helpline (04) 776760 or 0712406033 to assist you with any motoring problems