Motoring News

SA road deaths heading south – so take a look north…

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – European countries have the world’s lowest road-death rates, mainly because its drivers have more respect for the law and for the their and other road-users’ safety.

Great importance is also placed on the driving hours of commercial drivers whereas South Africa has no similar legislation in place. That’s left to fleet managers but not all place restrictions on their road staff.

They should, not only for the safety of their employees but also for other road-users. Such as you and I…

MODERN TELEMATICS

The managing director of road-training organisation MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says limitations on European driving hours are strictly policed.

”Commercial vehicles have modern telematics that can measure many parameters – among them driving and rest times,” he added. ”Unfortunately, South Africa does not have similar restrictions on truck and bus drivers – and even if this were to happen it would be some time before it could become enforceable.

“Yet, companies committed to improving road safety, looking after the well-being of drivers, and avoiding the costs associated with crashes, shouldn’t rely on the law to help them improve conditions for their drivers.

”Every company can commit to limiting driving thours and making rest times mandatory.”

HIGHER COSTS – BUT LESS DOWNTIME

Delivery schedules and wideawake drivers are not, Herbert says, necessarily exclusive. 

“Granted, this may require some additional costs, but these will be nowhere near the cost that crashes will have not only on the trucking company but also on the families of employees injured or killed thanks to lack of personal downtime.”

READ MORE road-safety features on Carman’s Corner

Herbert suggests South African trucking firms take a close look at European laws and company policies intended to prevent driving while fatigued and implement them in their own operational codes.

WHY WAIT FOR THE LAW?

”Become a South African organisation that leads the way in road safety,” he suggests. ”Don’t wait for law-enforcers to tell you how to improve road safety – rather lead the way based on international best-practice.

”Combine this with training and a company culture that prioritises safety and you’ll become a leader in road safety.”

And, probably, in the long term, your bottom line will benefit…

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