Highway Heroes sheds light on little-known industry
Lawrence Matavire from Hellman Worldwide Logistics is the 2016 Regent Insurance Highway Hero, effectively becoming one of South Africa’s best truck drivers.
He was named the 2016 champion during a glitzy awards evening hosted by the insurance company at the Scarlett Ribbon in Greenstone, Johannesburg, earlier this week.
Matavire walked away with the title and R75 000 in cash and prizes, while his employer received a cheque for R25 000.
Second placed Jansen Msithini from Auto Bulk took home R40 000 in cash and prizes, while Jefson Chuma from Kopano Fuel took third and his share of R20 000 in cash and prizes.
The competition obtained telematics data from a number of fleet owners for a period of 60 days. Driving techniques and behaviour on the road were analysed and compared and 15 finalists were identified from the top 30 performers.
The competition has grown considerably since last year, with 503 nominations received, up from the 186 in 2015.
“Highway Heroes was born out of our highly successful Driver Training Programme and this year alone, our driver trainers have completed 1 800 full competency assessments and put more than 100 drivers through the full three-day defensive driving course,” said Paul Dangerfield, national operations manager of Commercial Vehicles at Regent Insurance.
“Regent doesn’t charge its clients for driver training, and from January 2016 to date, has willingly spent R1.5 million on this exercise, across the country. Driver progress is monitored through the Regent Risk Services Bureau, which is currently monitoring around 5 000 trucks using 26 different telemetry systems,” he added.
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Announcing the first Highway Heroes runner-up, campaign affiliate Sasha Martinengo said that since the initiative started he had tried to ensure the people he meets have more respect for truck drivers. “The economy is driven by what these ladies and gentlemen do on our roads and a lot of the time we take them for granted,” he said.
Drummer in the Graeme Watkins Project, Matthew Marinus, said the Highway Heroes campaign had been a life-changing experience for him. “Having spent some time with the drivers at truck stops I started to realise that every morning for them is an early morning and every evening is a late evening. The sacrifices they are making so we can get our stuff on time is pretty immense. This campaign changes the attitudes of everyday people, like me, towards truck drivers which will help make our roads safer.”
Lead vocalist Graeme Watkins added that he’d no longer hoot, or shout, at truck drivers.
“From a cup of coffee to the sheets I have on my bed, every time I do something, I’m reminded that someone had to drive it to a shop where I purchased it. I realise now how important you are to South Africans and I hope we can all realise that you are the unsung heroes of this country.”
Wayne Rautenbach, general manager of Commercial Vehicles at Regent Insurance said: “It’s been a hell of a journey this year, having increased the entries from 100 to 500. It has been a very successful campaign.”
He also thanked the company’s partners and brokers and the fleet owners, who had willingly allowed Regent to monitor their fleets.
To the winning Highway Heroes he said, “Without you guys, this would not have been possible. Keep doing what you do, every single day,” before referring to the recent acts of heroism displayed by truck drivers during the heavy rainfalls in Johannesburg.
The evening was completed with entertainment by singers Loyiso Gwala, Tima Reece and Katlego Maboe.