New law fights overloading

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The amendment of a proclamation for trucks, known as the ‘vehicle size and weight regulation’ has been tabled to the Council of Ministers.
The draft regulation will improve the axle load control and impose penalties from the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) against those who abuse the nation’s transportation laws.
Yoseph Tamiru, Pavement Management Team Leader at ERA, told Capital, that the new draft law has been tabled to the council for the second time after authorities cleared up some questions concerning the initial document.
Over the past three decades things improved, including the standard of vehicles, roads and improvement of technology so the law was revised.
An international company called Lee International Consultants conducted the study and changed the previous regulation, adopting the sub-continental agreement of COMESA that Ethiopia signed.
The existing regulation does not specifically mention the penalty for over loading. A judge will issue a civil penalty in this case. “The fine is very insignificant compared with the damage,” he said.
The regulation imposes a fine between 2,000 and 42,000 birr. The draft regulation has a specific fine, and mentions the total weight, which was not mentioned in the 30 year old law. A weight limit is being imposed to control overloading and to make sure, for example, that trucks don’t cross bridges with lower carrying capacity than the truck is holding.
The new regulation mandates a three axle load limit, and ERA will be responsible for enforcing the axle load. In the 1990 regulation article 4 sub article C the steering axle of a vehicle shall not carry a gross load in excess of 8 tons which is also similar in the new draft. The 1990 Council of Ministers’ regulation signed by then Deputy Prime Minister Hailu Yimenu which was amended in the 1962 law also stated that the rear axle of a vehicle equipped with dual tyres shall not carry a gross load in excess of 10 tons.
Sub article D stated that the gross weight with of a two axles vehicle shall not exceed 17 tons, where the distance between the axels are not more than 1,300 mm.
In the new regulation based on the ERA geometric design the sub article D; 17 tons is reduced to 16 tons because the latest study indicates that the distance between the two axles does not have a significant change in the loading capacity. The new regulation also mandates three axles which is different than before and says the loading capacity maximum is 24 tons.
Three axles is the international standard that every country is currently using, according to the sector expert at ERA. The previous law did not mention the total weight, while the current one limits truck weight to 58 tons.
ERA improved the modern axle load control system but problem of overloading is growing. Yoseph said that improving the controlling system means expanding the work and collecting much data. With economic growth illegal overloading is increasing.
ERA weighs tucks from 3.5 tones and above. Over loading is one of the major causes for damaging roads before their life expectancy. Currently ERA has 14 controlling centers throughout the country and plans an additional six centers for the future.