How the logistics industry can make South African roads safer

How the logistics industry can make South African roads safer

With many road users accustomed to only short-distance, day-to-day commuting, the opportunity to refine our long-distance driving skills is often lacking. Consistent, tedious driving over the holiday season may, therefore, be a potential danger when drivers are exposed to the challenges that this brings.

These types of risks and challenges are what the long-distance professional driver faces every day. The Confidant Group, a coaching and management entity, believes that these drivers can have the biggest impact in improving safety on our roads.

Chantal Walley, CEO of The Confidant Group, says: “The single largest group of road users is made up of long-haul drivers. It stands to reason that an improvement in the performance of this influential group will have a very significant impact on road safety.”

She continues: “In the logistics business, the performance of long-distance drivers impacts directly on the bottom line. Driver education, rules, procedures and monitoring equipment are important business practices, however they do not guarantee driver adherence.

“Long-distance driving requires specific talents – one of which is being ‘wired’ to achieve clear, measurable performance standards while driving thousands of kilometres.”

Walley sums up the ideal long-distance driver: “The most important attribute, while spending hour after hour in the cab of a truck, is to anticipate problems consistently, to always question and to ask ‘what if’.”

The Confidant Group believes that the drivers who will excel are extremely risk averse. They respond positively to a highly structured and predictable environment and rely heavily on their specialised training. They respond positively to unambiguous leadership that acknowledges and rewards high standards.

To prove her point, The Confidant Group compared the hiring effectiveness at three depots in the country:
• The top depot achieved 91-percent compliance with the critical hiring specification;
• The next best depot scored 84 percent;
• The poorest performing depot achieved 65 percent. This depot had the highest number of Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) cases, the worst accident rate and the highest vehicle maintenance costs.

“Companies that align their hiring practices with their business objectives have the edge on their competitors – with every appointment, not just when appointing key personnel like long-distance drivers, they are building capacity to deliver their plan.

“Because of its massive presence on our roads, the logistics industry will be doing the country a huge service by reducing fatalities and costs associated with accidents, and by providing the role models to influence other drivers,” Walley concludes.

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