GAUTENG-: 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 sharply 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. In July 2020, the heavy vehicle webinar hosted by the RTMC revealed that in 2019, heavy load vehicles with a mass of 3.5 tons or more were involved in 4% of crashes resulting in 1250 deaths.
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 included Coca-Cola, Drive Dry, AbinBev (SAB), Diageo South Africa, and the Bakwena N1N4 Toll. The campaign took place on 29 and 30 October at Mantsole Weighbridge, Limpopo, where the National Traffic Police inspected trucks to ensure they are roadworthy and not overloaded. “Further advancement of the country’s road safety initiatives, such as
driver and pedestrian behavior, as well as awareness of the sector’s economic benefits, are extremely important,” said Anton Cornelissen, head of Heavy Haulage at Santam, adding that road safety is the domain of everyone, not just the government.
Cornelissen added 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 said 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.
Mcini Bheka who is a 49-year-old Truck driver from Newcastle in KZN, was on the road for more than 10 hours delivering pipes for water construction to the Vhembe district in Tzaneen Said “The campaign helps us a lot like drivers, we get to rest and receive new road safety information we didn’t know”. Alfred Munyenga from Johannesburg driving to Harare delivering paper for packaging feels 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.