As the National October Transport Month came to an end, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) together with SANTAM partnered with its road safety stakeholders to raise road safety awareness and driver wellness focusing on long distance truck drivers.
Santam, South Africa’s largest general insurer, and the RTMC continued their partnership that promotes heavy vehicle road safety to reduce the number of preventable truck accidents. Now in its third year, the partnership aims to raise awareness around fatigue and health issues that have a direct impact on truck accidents.
Part of this included a two-day road safety awareness campaign with various stakeholders including Coca Cola, Drive Dry, AbinBev (SAB), Diageo South Africa and the Bakwena N1/N4 Toll. The campaign took place on October 29/30th at Mantsole Weighbridge in Limpopo where the National Traffic Police also inspected trucks to ensure they are roadworthy and not overloaded.
“Further advancement of the country’s road safety initiatives, such as driver and pedestrian behaviour, as well as awareness of the sector’s economic benefits are extremely important,” says Anton Cornelissen, head of Heavy Haulage at Santam, adding that road safety is the domain of everyone, not just government.
Cornelissen adds that truck drivers work under unique physically demanding conditions, putting them at increased risk of a range of chronic health conditions, including diabetes and hypertension. He says these conditions – coupled with fatigue – can negatively affect the reaction time and significantly increase the risk of collisions.
The campaign provided drivers with advice on getting plenty of rest and a minimum of six hours of sleep before a long drive. They should also not drive continuously for more than five hours and follow this up with a break of at least 15 minutes.
As we approach the festive season period which is characterised by a high fatal crash rate, the RTMC’s Simon Zwane is encouraging fleet operators to prioritise the health and wellness of truck drivers.
During the two-day event, drivers received free screenings from professional health care workers from Trucking Wellness. And all of this was much appreciated by the drivers.
“The campaign helps us a lot as drivers as we receive new road safety information we didn’t know,” said Mcini Bheka, a 49-year-old truck driver from Newcastle in KZN who was on the road for more than 10 hours delivering pipes for water construction to the Vhembe district in Tzaneen.
Alfred Munyenga from Johannesburg, driving to Harare delivering paper for packaging, was another appreciative driver saying that the campaign is helpful as it educates them on some of the road safety issues they were not exposed to. He further encouraged his peers to observe the rules of the road.
FleetWatch extends big congratulations to all participants in this worthy venture. As Anton Cornelissen, head of Heavy Haulage at Santam, says: “Road safety is the domain of everyone, not just government.”