Officially launched on 13 July 2023, SaferStops seeks to improve truck stop facilities by focusing on healthy meal alternatives, exercise facilities and rest areas that allow commercial truck drivers to take a break after spending long hours on the road.

The SaferStops Association (SSA) is currently collaborating with public-private partners to bed down exactly what the ideal truck stop of the future might look like.

Nicci Scott-Anderson, founder of the Commercial Transport Academy (CTA) and the SSA, says the initiative is not about building new truck stops, rather “we are talking about using existing infrastructure and raising the standard.”

Engen’s Commercial Marketing and Business Development Manager, Adnaan Emeran says the company is excited to partner with the SaferStops Association in this regard as there are clear synergies between the two organisations.

“For the past ten years, the Engen Driver Wellness Programme has sought to improve occupational health and wellness among long-distance truck drivers by providing free health screening, healthy lifestyle advice and consultations where necessary,” comments Emeran.

“Given the long hours many truck drivers spend on the road and the stresses associated with the job, these interventions have formed a critical pillar of support.”

And while Engen’s free health screenings are periodically available at the company’s network of 15 Engen Truck Stops and various Engen 1-Stops, Emeran says there is certainly a lot more that can be done.

“Working together with the SSA, Engen is actively looking at ways in which it can improve its facilities and ensure that the changing needs of truck drivers are catered for,” he adds.

Some key changes on the cards at Engen Truck Stops include healthier food options, improved ablution facilities and recreational areas.

“After months of research into the health and nutritional needs of drivers, we are about to pilot a new healthy meal offering, with drivers eventually able to order nutritiously prepared meals at affordable prices through an App,” explains Emeran.

Adds Scott-Anderson: “Physical fitness is also an important aspect for truck drivers, particularly because they are required to drive long distances, while poor truck stop conditions often raise the potential for drivers to be afflicted with avoidable conditions and diseases.”

Given recent incidents of targeted violence against truck drivers in pockets of South Africa, Scott-Anderson stresses the importance of providing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) therapy and counselling to those impacted.

She also highlights the need to provide some form of entertainment for drivers at truck stops so they can rest and recuperate before safely continuing their journeys.

“This collaboration with SSA further re-enforces Engen’s commitment to being a sustainable energy solutions partner, enriching lives for a better future,” says Emeran.