Browsing by Author "Roodt, Louis de Villiers"
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- ItemMaintenance engineering standards to fulfil the legal duty of road authorities towards safe roads(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2016-03) Roodt, Louis de Villiers; Bester, C. J.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Engineering. Dept. of Civil Engineering.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The road network is a mode of communication that is important for the movement of people and the distribution of goods. Ownership of roads is vested in public entities. The provision of roads follows need, but is influenced by policy and funding from the public purse. The supply of roads infrastructure is therefore discretionary. The maintenance of roads is subject to operational needs, safety requirements and treasury guidelines on asset management. Maintenance of road assets, in particular safety-related maintenance, may be mandatory to meet accepted engineering standards and the expectations of communities. South Africa has a poor road safety record. Deaths per annum resulting from motor vehicle accidents peaked in 2006 at over 15 000 and stabilised at around 13 800 from 2008 to 2012. The road conditions, in particular failures, play a role in many of the accidents. Most road failures result from inadequate maintenance. The legal duty to ensure that roads are reasonably safe to use has been confirmed in legislation, policy and case law. Failure to perform this legal duty may lead to damages, for which the road authority will be liable in delict. For a case to succeed, the elements of delict must be satisfied. An act or omission that caused the damages must exist and it must be proven that the road authority was at fault. If the act was wrongful and the road authority acting through its employees is found to have acted negligently, the plaintiff’s claim will be awarded based on the contributory negligence of all parties involved in the accident, leading to apportionment of damages. Negligence is not only related to failure to maintain the road to generally accepted standards, but also in not having systems to manage, organise, execute and control the maintenance need and actions. This thesis discusses road safety, the development of standards, asset management processes and legalities. Critical characteristics of the road are identified and standards proposed. The maintenance of such standards will provide a strong defence against claims of negligence. The thesis further analyses case studies of decided claims and investigated accidents to determine principles and norms that have evolved in law. The thesis proposes a set of standards, threshold values, inspection cycles, reaction times and decision triggers to inform the maintenance of road infrastructure for safer roads. These standards include threshold values for the dimensions of potholes, edge breaks and drop-off, rutting, skid resistance, the affirmation of sight distances through the control of vegetation and location of trees. It lists trigger values for maintenance actions that must be performed to mitigate hazardous conditions, including drainage, signs and guardrails. The research forms a foundation for industry practice guidelines on maintenance for safer roads in the context of the road authorities’ legal duties towards road safety.