JC Auditors is appealing to truckers to exercise extreme caution on the roads, not only over the long Easter Holiday weekend, but every time they take to the road. As traffic over major routes increases over the next few days, the company shared some key safe driving reminders including driving at a safe speed, not drinking and driving, always buckling up, keeping safe following distances and not using electronic devices while driving. These are the very basic elements of defensive driving, yet are still the leading causes of crashes worldwide.

“We are calling on truck drivers to obey all the rules of the road and be safe, not only this Easter, but every time they take to the roads,” said JC Auditors Managing Director Oliver Naidoo. “We will be visiting truck stops around the country to bring this message to drivers who are on the road.”

Targeting truck stops predominantly in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the company plans to actively engage drivers, promoting safe driving on a very personal basis. Following on the very successful safe driver day, held recently at the Highway Junction truck stop in Harrismith, the JC Auditors team will be handing out goodie bags and safety reminder cards – with the hope of re-inforcing the key safe driving techniques. “Easter should be a special time for families, but sadly too many families lose their special ones on our roads during this weekend,” said Naidoo. “ In our Easter safe driving awareness campaign, we have emphasised the very personal benefit of driving safely, which is to protect one’s own life and that of one’s family.”

According to Naidoo, South Africa must become more innovative and creative in its engagement with drivers to achieve a meaningful shift to safer driving behaviour. “Road safety has, to some extent, become a boring topic. We need to stimulate our approach, making messages more personal and engaging if we are to change behaviour and curb road deaths in the country.”

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) annual road safety report, the number of traffic deaths per 100 000 inhabitants in South Africa increased by 18% between 2000 and 2018. In 2018, 22.4 traffic deaths per 100 000 inhabitants were recorded, compared to 19.9 in 1990. By way of comparison, the average in the European Union is 4.9 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants Naidoo attributes this poor road safety record primarily to a prevailing and sadly escalating culture of non-compliance to road traffic rules . “We need a culture change when it comes to road safety, where we are constantly focused on obeying road rules and driving safely, not only at Easter or Christmas, but always.”

He also called on companies to implement innovative and structured training programmes for drivers – rather than training as a knee-jerk response to incidents. “ There is no silver bullet to our road safety challenges in South Africa. It will require sustained efforts by the diverse road stakeholders to enable change in the prevailing culture. “Our industry requires a structured, sustained approach to road safety if we are to reduce the number of accidents and incidents.”

The Road Transport Management System (RTMS) is one such structured approach which has yielded outstanding results such as reduction in crashes, overloading, speed violations , driver fatigue risk and an overall improved safety footprint. Calling on more truck operators to implement the Road Traffic Management Systems (RTMS), he said this industry-led, government-supported, voluntary, self-regulation effort encouraged fleet operators to implement a set of standards that promotes safety, compliance, efficiency and significantly helps to preserve our road networks, which is critical for the economy.

JC Auditors have conducted RTMS audits since 2007, and verified how RTMS companies have reduced their accidents, with many lives being saved, no doubt.

“Over and above this overarching goal of saving lives, many transporters have reported ancillary benefits such as fuel saving, fewer breakdowns, improved fleet utilization, cost savings on tyres and maintenance as well as improved driver morale,” concludes Naidoo. “RTMS is gaining increasingly wider recognition as an indicator of a safe, compliant and professional transporter, with many corporate clients including RTMS certification as a contractual pre-requisite.”