They’re regarded as discourteous, bad drivers and ill-tempered as a result of stress they go through.
Whether the above stands no water is a subject for another day because if, they don’t move, the whole country suffers, period.
But one thing to note is, since its launch in 2015, the Highway Heroes campaign that seeks to motivate and honour our bulky truck drivers, the behavior on our roads seem to have changed slightly.
According to Paul Dangerfield, Highway Heroes campaign manager at Regent Commercial Vehicles/Insurance, who are the backers of the campaign, one of the aims of the Highway Heroes initiative is to raise road users’ awareness of the many challenges that truck drivers face in the course of their work, the daily threat of hijacking being one of the most obvious one and so, on.
For their efforts, a cool R135 000 has been allocated to South Africa’s top three truck drivers and fleet owner of the first placed driver.
“From our claim statistics, we have pinpointed other challenges that truck drivers face: excessively long hours on the road; being pushed to speed; driving at night; high traffic volume; impatient road users; lack of (poor) driver training; and that there are not enough safe places for truck drivers to stop overnight,” says a worried Dangerfield.
Perceptions that truck drivers are reckless and that they are largely responsible for the unacceptably high accident rate in this country is simply not true,” he continued unflinchingly.
The campaign is looking for SA’s best truck driver that, will be evaluated by means of stringent analysis of driving technique and behaviour via telematics’ data obtained from the fleet owner.
This is combined with an analysis of the results obtained over a 60-day period from telematics’ devices that will be installed in the trucks of the 15 finalists.
“The Highway Heroes Foundation was established to promote safe and skilled driving for truck drivers and we will introduce a logistical management training module to further the growth and development of entrepreneurs in the country.”
“At Regent, we look forward to another successful campaign in 2016 and encourage fleet owners to nominate their truck drivers,” says Dangerfield.
South Africa’s socio-economic security and growth is largely dependent on the transportation sector and the conveyance of vital goods to over 53 million citizens living in the country today, who transport billions of rands worth of essential goods to every corner of the country.
Entries opened on 1 March 2016 and the winner and two runners-up will be selected from the finalists’ shortlist before the awards announcement in November this year.
Any fleet owner can nominate their best truck driver(s) by completing an online entry form or by downloading an entry form or by sending to email@example.com>
2015 winners were Themba Vilakazi(45) a driver for Fairfield Long Haul in Howick who won R50 000 in cash and prizes.
First runner-up, Dumisane Nzimande (Gauteng) won cash and prizes worth R25 000 and Michael Madamo (Mpumulanga), the second runner-up, R12 500.
Established brands such as musician, Loyiso Bala, Carte Blanche’s Derek Watts and DJ and self-confessed ‘petrol-head’ Sasha Martinengo, have been identified as ‘Ambassadors’.