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As we near the end of National Transport Month this October, statistics from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) paint a bleak picture. According to RTMC, more than 12 500 people lost their lives on the roads in 2019.
Which is why Santam, South Africa’s largest general insurer, and RTMC are continuing their partnership that promotes truck road safety to reduce the number of preventable truck accidents. Although heavy trucks make up only 0.36% of all registered vehicles in South Africa, they account for 11% of road crash fatalities. Now in its fourth year, the partnership aims to raise awareness around fatigue and health issues that have a direct impact on truck accidents.
Part of this includes a two-day road safety campaign event hosted by RTMC and Santam. The event will take place on 29 and 30 October at Mantsole Weighbridge, Limpopo, where the National Traffic Police will inspect trucks to ensure they are roadworthy and not overloaded.
“Further advancement of the country’s road safety initiatives, such as driver and pedestrian behaviour, as well as awareness of the sector’s economic benefits are extremely important,” says Anton Cornelissen, head of Heavy Haulage at Santam, adding that road safety is the domain of everyone, not just government.
Cornelissen adds that Truck drivers work under unique physically demanding conditions, putting them at increased risk of a range of chronic health conditions, including diabetes and hypertension. He says these conditions coupled with fatigue, can negatively affect the reaction time and significantly increase the risk of collisions.
“Some of the advice we provide to drivers include getting plenty of rest and a minimum of six hours of sleep before a long drive. They should also not drive continuously for more than five hours and follow this up with a break of at least 15 minutes.”
“As the leader in heavy haulage, Santam encourages fleet operators to prioritise the health and wellness of truck drivers. Through our partnership with RMTC, we endeavour to increase safety on South African roads.” concludes Cornelissen.
In addition to truck road safety, the Santam-RMTC partnership aims to reach more motorists with appropriate messages. “We hope the partnership will continue to help us sustain our road safety messages and impact changed behaviour among all drivers on the roads,” says Zoleka Mbuli, head of communications and marketing at RTMC.
The national lockdown has had a positive impact on the number of car crashes and fatalities due to curfews and travel restrictions, she adds. “Human behaviour, fatigue, have been noted as the most common contributing factors in most road accidents.”
During the two-day event, drivers will get free screenings from professional health care workers and promotional packs.
For more information on Santam’s commercial vehicle insurance, including heavy haulage, visit santam.co.za.
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