Who is the very best truck driver in South Africa?
That is the fundamental question the Hollard Highway Heroes competition seeks to answer – and then reward the overall winner with prizes worth a whopping R100 000.
“All too often, trucks and their drivers are seen as a nuisance on our roads, causing hazards and slowing traffic, but they’re actually unsung heroes. They deliver virtually every commodity and product that we need, want and use, and without them our economy cannot function,” says competition manager Paul Dangerfield, of the Trucking Centre of Excellence in Hollard Insure, Hollard’s short-term insurance division.
Nash Omar, Hollard Insure’s general manager: broker markets, adds: “We also want ordinary people to look at truck drivers with fresh eyes, and recognise them for the Highway Heroes they are. So, the next time you’re out on the road and a truck is slowing you down, remember that you’re following in the tracks of a hero. Give him a friendly wave as you pass him by; this simple gesture will require so little of you, and yet mean so much to him.”
Now in its fourth year, Highway Heroes was born out of an initiative by Regent Insurance to train truck drivers and improve road safety – and, consequently, mitigate risk, prevent accidents and reduce insurance claims. When Hollard acquired Regent in 2017 it took over Highway Heroes, too.
The format for this year’s competition has also changed. Unlike in the past, where there was only one winner, there will now be four categories: tautliners, tankers, tippers and flat decks. Each of these categories will have four sub-categories: long haul, short haul, cross-border and route-specific.
“While there will still be one overall winner, we felt that it is better that all kinds of truck drivers have a fair crack at the top spot – and that more of them can win prizes,” says Dangerfield.
The overall Highway Heroes winner takes home R100 000 in cash and prizes – a very respectable 25% increase on the 2017 prize – with the other three category winners each garnering R25 000 in cash and prizes.
The remaining six of the top 10 entrants each pocket R2 500, and the rest of the top 30 – those placed 11 to 30 – each receive R1 000. Each of the four fleet owners for whom the overall and category winners work, will receive R5 000 towards a special braai for their drivers.
Drivers can enter the competition between 1 May and 31 July. Further details can be found on the Hollard website, at https://www.hollard.co.za/highway-heroes. Those entrants who make the final 30 will then have standardised tracking devices fitted to their trucks, and be monitored between 1 September and 15 October according to parameters such as speed, harsh braking, fatigue and driving during the day and night, and distance travelled.
Highway Heroes dovetails with Hollard’s Better Futures marketing campaign, which promotes the concept that doing good and creating a better future for everyone is at the heart of doing good business.
“Highway Heroes is a practical manifestation of Better Futures. Through an initiative that has less to do with selling insurance than it does with making the world a better place, Hollard is doing great insurance business – and making a positive impact on our economy, our roads, trucking companies, their brokers, you, me and, of course, our Highway Heroes: the awesome truck drivers who keep our country going,” says Dangerfield.