Scania encourages safe driving with 'Battle of the Truckers'

IMG 7141Scania hosted battle of the truckers to encourage road safetyA Scania organized competition of 32 drivers, themed 'Road Safety' was launched Wednesday to encourage driving safely and abiding by road rules and regulations for articulated and rigid vehicles or what is commonly referred to as trucks and buses.

The companies represented at the competition included various distribution, long haulage and construction companies such as CA Sales and Distributors, AT and T Monnakgotla, Choppies, Unitrans Botswana, Petrologistics, Trioptimum Logistics, Seabelo's Express and De Vre's Transport who use Scania vehicles or products. The drivers were tested on theory, road and stationary obstacles and will compete for a spot in the finals to be hale in South Africa later during the course of the year.

Ms Boitshepo Balozwi, the Administration Coordinator for Scania Botswana, said, "It is no secret that truck and bus drivers have an especially damaged reputation, they are always seen as the bad guys on the road, hopefully this competition will illustrate that bus or truck drivers are people like you and me; they are just carrying a heavier load." Scania Botswana was applauded by Government officials for embracing such private-public partnerships with Government. Officials maintained that the drivers who have joined this competition are not just competing for the prize money but are demonstrating their passion, dedication and care for their jobs as heavy duty drivers in the heavy transport sector.

"The drivers are tested not because they do not know the road rules but as a reminder that they need to continue to obey and respect all road signs," said Goitsemang Morekisi, Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Transport and Communications. HIV/AIDS testing and counseling services were also availed at the launch for the drivers and everyone was encouraged to get tested as Morekisi outlined that it is a pillar of every organization to have a healthy workforce.

She said that truck and bus drivers have highly mobile jobs and face health challenges such as HIV/AIDS. Invited to add onto the health aspect for truck and bus drivers was the local entertainer Odirile 'Vee' Sento who is also the ambassador for Safe Male Circumcision.

According to Dirk Kokemoer, who is the representative for Scania South Africa, the competition is held to motivate road safety and encourage the drivers to be the best they can be. He went on to say that the competition was open for truck and bus drivers who already have licenses so as to make them better drivers, to ensure greater road safety. "The participants will be taken on the road to see how they judge the road and the distance, how they behave while driving," Kokemoer added.

After the competition, Andrew Kamogelo Molwapula representing Choppies Company said they were taught and shown what they usually do erroneously as truck and bus drivers though they do not realize it is wrong. "Scania people show that they recognize us and that we are important as drivers, they motivate us to take care of other road users especially those on small vehicles," he added. Morekisi and Kokemoer both expressed hope that the competition will be held every year to empower and skill more local truck and bus drivers and together bring down the number of road accidents recorded annually.



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