Vehicle manufacturers have developed today’s vehicles with enhanced safety systems and many important safety features, making new vehicles safer than ever.
Vehicle braking, stability and lighting have been improved far beyond the levels required by legislation, by a mixture of technical evolution and advanced technology, making cars more able to avoid accidents. Accident survivability has also been improved well ahead of legislation by designing cars to deform in a controlled way in frontal, side and rear impacts and by the addition of advanced restraint and airbag systems.
As far as South Africa is concerned, a process of homologation is required before any motor vehicle model, domestically manufactured or imported, can be introduced into the South African market. The homologation procedure of the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) intends to ensure that all new vehicle models comply with the relevant South African legislation, standards and specifications, as well as codes of practice, before use by the public on public roads. In 2020, the NRCS initiated a Safer Vehicles 2025 project, aimed at improving the vehicle specifications in South Africa. Phase 1 of the NRCS project will review the automotive specifications (N1 and M1 vehicles), and referenced standards, while Phase 2 will improve the conformity of production requirements, reintroduce the type approval projects and develop smart surveillance processes.
One of the reasons why the South African automotive industry remains the dominant vehicle production market in Africa is that used vehicle imports are not allowed into the country. Strict control measures ensure that only a limited number of legal import permits are issued to allow specified used vehicles into South Africa.