Following the outstanding success of the 2015 Highway Heroes campaign, Regent Insurance has launched the 2016 Highway Heroes campaign increasing the prize money from over R100 000 to R135 000 the price purse be awarded to South Africa’s top three truck drivers and the fleet owner of the first placed driver.
Paul Dangerfield, Highway Heroes campaign manager at Regent Commercial Vehicles (RCV), says 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.
“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 driver training; and that there are not enough safe places for truck drivers to stop overnight.”
“We also believe that this platform presents a perfect opportunity to start changing road users’ perceptions that truck drivers are reckless and that they are largely responsible for the unacceptably high accident rate in this country,” says Dangerfield, adding, “This is simply not true.”
Regent first introduced the Highway Heroes competition in 2015. The winner, Themba Vilakazi (45) – a driver for Fairfield Long Haul in Howick – 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.
The 2015 campaign highlighted the important role that truck drivers play in the economy – and how 53-million South Africans would be negatively impacted without the thousands of truck drivers in the logistics industry who transport billions of Rands worth of essential goods to every corner of the country 24/7/365. These essential goods – from vital medication and electronic goods to food and fuel – are transported by truck drivers and without them, the wheels of the economy would slowly grind to a halt.
Through the Highway Heroes campaign, Regent Commercial Vehicles Insurance (RCV) is searching for South Africa’s best truck driver. However, this is not an easy contest: The participants are 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.
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.
A positive spin-off of the 2015 campaign is the launch of the Regent Insurance Highway Heroes Foundation, an initiative that will provide free driver training to partner applicants in 2016.
“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.
The competition is only open to Regent insured drivers and they can be South African or permanently employed foreign nationals. Fleet owners can nominate their best truck drivers by completing an online entry form or by downloading, completing and emailing an entry form to firstname.lastname@example.org
Nomination forms are also available from Regent Commercial Vehicles Consultants, at selected Regent branches and from Regent brokers. Entry forms must be submitted with a motivational letter from the fleet owner that explains why they believe their driver is the best in the country.
Carte Blanche’s Derek Watts; DJ and petrol-head, Sasha Martinengo; and musician, Loyiso Bala, will lend their voices to the 2016 campaign and help to create public awareness about the importance of truck drivers and how a change in driver behaviour can contribute towards making South Africa’s roads safer.