Speed limits haven’t changed and trucks cannot be pulled off the road during certain hours. That’s the message from the Automobile Association (AA) in South Africa which is advising people not to repeat rumours about new traffic laws without knowing the facts.

“We are getting several calls a day from concerned motorists over alleged changes to the speed limits, and operating hours laws,” the AA said. “It’s evident in all these cases that motorists have misunderstood the difference between ‘law’ and ‘proposal’.”

The AA explained that the Minister of Transport is entitled to make new regulations to the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA), or change or repeal old ones. This process starts with the Department of Transport (DoT) issuing a proposed amendment for comment, which is published in the Government Gazette. A comment period follows during which the public can give its input on the proposal.

“Once the comment period closes, the Department of Transport will then consider the comments received from the public and then decide how to proceed,” the AA explained.

“The law-making process is quite flexible, and just because something is proposed in the Government Gazette doesn’t mean it will necessarily become law.”

The AA described a ‘Facebook frenzy’ over speed limits and heavy vehicle operating hours.

“It would be more productive for people to make submissions to the DoT during the comment period, giving their views on a proposal, than for them to whip up a frenzy on social media when it’s too late,” the AA said.