Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1205, (10 - 16 July 2014)
Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Issue 1205, (10 - 16 July 2014)

Ahram Weekly

No more trucking

Heavy-trailer trucks will leave the country’s roads starting from August 2015, reports Ahmed Morsy

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Al-Ahram Weekly

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree last Thursday amending the traffic law regarding heavy-trailer trucks. The amended law will ban double-truck trailers from moving on the streets as of 1 August 2015, allowing only semi-trailers.

According to the new amendments, existing trailer licenses will be gradually cancelled, starting from the oldest to the newest according to issuance date. Heavy trucks are thought to be a major cause of road accidents.

The law was originally issued in 2008, allowing a grace period for heavy trucks until August 2014. In 2009, parliament decided to decrease the period to only two years. However, the decision was not enforced at that time due to a truckers’ strike. Though the grace period is due to reach its end next month, Al-Sisi’s decree extends it to another year.

The law was being debated throughout the grace period and before and after the 25 January Revolution because of the then government’s intention to shrink the grace period.

But the truck owners refused to comply each time they were put under pressure and went on strike in mid-December 2010. The strike, which ended in early January 2011, reportedly caused major losses to many sectors because heavy-duty trucks are responsible for around 90 per cent of total transportation.

“The extension of the grace period to August 2015 is absolutely necessary due to the importance of heavy trucks, especially for building materials,” Ahmed Al-Zeini, Head of the Cargo Association and President of the General Division of Construction Materials, said.

“The importance of the heavy trailers is the reason why we support and applaud the president’s decision to extend the grace period for another year,” Al-Zeini said.

Head of the Heavy Transportation Association Mustafa Al-Noweihi said that a year’s extension was not enough. “A one-year extension is a short period in the absence of any government scheme to replace the old heavy trailers, some at work since the 1960s, with new semi-trailers.”

“Moreover, there is a failure to adopt plans for modifying the old heavy trucks into newer semi-trailers, like what happened with the white taxis in Cairo,” Al-Noweihi said.

Nevertheless, he praised the decision, believing that it was in favour of the country’s 70,000 trailer drivers who would have been negatively affected if the grace period had ended next month.

Al-Zeini said that Hani Dahi, the Minister of Transport, had confirmed his intention to repeal article 6 of Law No. 21 of 2008, which stipulates the need to convert heavy trailers into semi-trailers, especially since studies have confirmed that these are not responsible for the high rates of road accidents.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) said in a report released in June that the total number of car accidents in 2013 was 15,578, a rise of 0.4 per cent from the 2012 figure of 15,516.

The amendments aim at transforming thousands of heavy trucks into semi-trailers by August 2015. Presidential Spokesman Ihab Badawi said the amendments, including modifications to the traffic law to punish violations more harshly, came amid the recent increases in road accidents and the injuries and deaths resulting from them.

Regarding the other amendments, article 76 of the newly amended law punishes those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs by three months to a year in prison and/or an LE1,000 to LE3,000 fine.

The punishment is doubled should the driver repeat the act within a year of his sentencing.

 Should someone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs cause an accident that leads to the injury or death of another, he will face the same initial punishment. Anyone driving a vehicle without a licence will be punished by a maximum of six months in prison and/or a fine ranging from LE1,000 to LE2,000, as per an amendment to article 74.

Article 72 stipulates a punishment of an LE500 to LE1, 500 fine for anyone who litters roads, creates noise or produces “exhaust that doesn’t meet environmental standards” from a motor vehicle.

The punishment is doubled should the perpetrator repeat the act within three months. If the perpetrator repeats it again within six months, the punishment will be doubled and his license suspended for a year.

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