• On average, we have 158 crashes on our roads in eThekwini every day,
• Two fatal crashes (we have under-reporting in this case), and one of those killed is a
• 30 injury crashes each day.
Botha observes – “We call it a ‘road crash.’ It is not an accident, because someone is
responsible for the incident which is usually the outcome of a perfect storm involving several
factors. And overloading is often a major item leading to a fatal crash.”

It is not only trucks that get overloaded. A daily sight on SA roads is working light commercial
vehicles (bakkies) carrying a human overload on top of an overloaded cargo. (In contravention
of Regulation 247)

But what is the yardstick for determining overload? It is alphabetically spelt out on a metal data-
plate displaying the vehicle manufacturer’s gross vehicle mass (GVM) and the legal vehicle

mass for heavy vehicles (V) numerically identified in kilograms. On light trucks and bakkies the
GVM and V are often identical in kilograms – on heavy and extra-heavy trucks the GVM
manufacturer’s rating can exceed the V legal rating.
Where is the data-plate? On bakkies a data-plate is usually fixed inside the engine compartment
while on trucks it is most often fixed inside the cab. A missing data-plate is a legal offence –
Regulation 245 – and the figures inscribed cannot be changed. In any court action the point of
departure in benchmarked from the data-plate which is virtually the vehicle manufacturer’s birth
certificate. In the case of a missing data-plate special application must be made via a dealer and
the vehicle manufacturer for a replacement against a VIN number.
The data-plate is the reference point for traffic authorities when a vehicle is assessed on a
weighbridge for overloading. How far does the vehicle exceed its GVM or V in kilograms?
And from an insurance viewpoint the data-plate is also the place to assess if policy conditions
have been broken and whether a claim will be met following a crash.