Home FleetWatch 2011 A Call to Action

A Call to Action

Patrick O'Leary - Publisher/Managing Editor

In this edition, we bring you feedback on our Brake & Tyre Watch project held in Bloemfontein – and it’s not good news. Of the 26 trucks taken off the road for testing, 22 were served with Discontinuation of Service notices. That’s an 84% failure rate. Do we continue to just accept these disgraceful figures or do we act now to change things in this industry. Please read on’¦

FleetWatch and its fantastic partners have now covered the entire country with the Brake & Tyre Watch project training over 600 traffic officials and inspecting 306 trucks of all shapes and sizes during these exercises. Of these, 202 were served with Discontinuation of Service notices. That’s a 66% failure rate which is totally unacceptable and shows the entire industry up in a bad light. This is a huge pity as there are some stunning operators out there and these guys are being pulled down into the dirt by reprobates who shouldn’t be anywhere near the trucking industry. They haven’t a clue about what it takes to be a responsible trucker. Talk about vehicle maintenance and it doesn’t even enter the picture. I wish I could put the families of these guys into the cabs of the wrecks we inspect and send them out on the road. Maybe the thought of his family driving in a truck with no brakes , yes, no brakes – would change the owner’s attitude towards road safety and trucking.

You can probably gauge that I am feeling a little ‘˜gatvol’. You’re right. I am. I’m gatvol with a whole lot of things going on in this country. I’m gatvol with unroadworthy trucks being run by uncaring operators; I’m gatvol with the mindless and damaging ramblings of Julius Malema; I am gatvol with corrupt politicians and cops; I am gatvol with crime; I am gatvol with potholed filled roads; I am gatvol with the so called ‘˜leaders’ of this country indulging in what has become a feeding frenzy of self enrichment; I am gatvol of the billions of Rands in wasteful expenditure that goes nowhere near towards building the country; and there’s a whole lot more. And I am not the only one who feels this way. There are many in this industry who share these sentiments. So what do we do? Do we just give up? No. What we do is take things into our own hands. No longer can this industry wait for the ‘˜authorities’ to take the lead and implement change for the better. It’s not going to happen. If I have to hear of one more 3-day ‘˜talk shop’ where grandiose plans we all know will never be implemented are outlined, I am going to puke. The industry has to do it itself. It’s in the industry’s hands.

To this end, FleetWatch is putting out A Call to Action (ACTA) whereby on August 19th we are planning to have the biggest gathering of trucking CEO’s, MDs ever seen in this country with the objective of bringing about a commitment to a total change of attitude in the trucking industry towards road safety. We are aiming to have 1 000 transporters in one venue. It would also be great to have the workshop managers there as a lot of the action plans will have to filter down to them. The aim though, is to have the Captains of the trucking industry commit to taking the lead in road safety. The trucking industry led the country in the fight against HIV/AIDS with the formation of Trucking Against Aids (a FleetWatch initiative back in the mid 1990s) which developed into the highly successful Trucking Wellness programme. Let’s now do it with road safety. It’s all in line with the late, great, Jack Webster’s belief which he stated in an article in FleetWatch way back in 2001: “The root of the country’s road traffic and road transport problems can be summed up in one word , ‘˜ATTITUDE’. Unless the attitude of all who are involved in the movement of people and goods by road is changed dramatically, we can forget about new policies, programmes and the introduction of more legislation. And this change in attitude must start at the top and end at the lowest level of road user.’ We have the ammo from our Brake & Tyre Watch exercises , and other experiences – to present on the day to bring about this change in attitude and I know we can do it. The time is now. It won’t come from the authorities. It is up to us.

The venue is near Pinetown at the Shongweni Polo Club Truck, Car, Bike and Outdoor Expo 2011 where we are all going to gather in a ‘˜moerse tent’ to get some action going. The organiser of the Expo, Clyde Lawrence, staged his first show last year and it was a huge success with almost 100% of the companies, many from the trucking industry, rebooking for this year’s event. The Expo runs from Thursday August 18th through to Sunday 21st but the FleetWatch Call To Action event is only a day as trucking MDs and CEOs can’t afford more time , and we don’t need more time than that. This isn’t a government ‘˜talk shop’. It’s a trucking industry ‘˜action day’. We’ll start at 9.30am and end later in the afternoon. We’re then going to put sheep on spits to feed 1 000 transport guys and that will be followed by a music shindig of note with Clyde and his mates – old rockers – performing live. It’s going to be a trucker’s day of note with none of that ‘˜puffy pasty stuff’ to be seen on any tray or plate anywhere near us. Net vleis!

If you want to wait longer for things to change, that’s up to you. Then wait. We’re not waiting any longer. We’re going ahead to implement the much needed changes that we all desire. Transport MECs and even the National Minister of Transport are all welcome to attend – but not as speakers. They need to sit and listen to the realities of the trucking industry. They need to sit and listen to what we are going to do to change things. They really need to listen rather than talk. There will be a charge per head but I can assure you, it will not be these brain-damaged charges levied by the countless conference organizers who tap into this industry for a couple of days a year and then disappear. We’re getting the final costings together but I’m talking under R1 000 per person. C’mon guys, let’s get some action going. You have a vital role to play in the future of this country but we need to wipe the muck from the surface of the industry and get to the heart of the industry because the heart, when exposed, is a good one. We will be sending out more information but in the meantime, should you wish to book, please contact either myself at fleetwatch@pixie.co.za, or Kylie at kylie@fleetwatch.co.za or eva@fleetwatch.co.za. Let’s do it.

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