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As any long weekend approaches, road safety is once again an issue: how do we address the almost inevitable carnage on our highways?

“Perhaps the question is not so much how we prevent bad driving, which year after year has yielded little in the way of positive outcomes for our country, but how we reward excellent driving,” says Wayne Rautenbach, head of Hollard Trucking.

“This is not to say traffic and law enforcement should not take place – it certainly must, and be strict and consistent in its application. But we need to also identify and hold up those road users who set a great example to us all, by obeying the law and driving carefully at all times.”

Hollard Highway Heroes is an annual competition that identifies and rewards South Africa’s best long-distance truck drivers, who must prove that they drive better than their peers in terms of speed, harsh braking and fatigued driving.

In doing so, they stand to win substantial prizes: the 2019 Highway Hero, who will have vied against thousands of other truck drivers for the grand prize, takes home a cool R100 000.

Safer roads for everyone

“The real beauty of Highway Heroes is that while it offers life-changing prizes to our participating truck drivers, not only they benefit,” Rautenbach continues.

“Because the competitors drive better, their employers enjoy lower maintenance and fuel costs, as well as fewer accidents and insurance claims. Hollard, naturally, benefits because of this, too.

“But best of all, every single one of us who use our country’s roads – and it’s estimated that 80% of our population does, as drivers, passengers or pedestrians – is safer. That’s a spin-off benefit to Highway Heroes about which we’re particularly proud,” says Rautenbach.

Better future for more people

The Hollard group’s business purpose is named Better Futures. It holds that everything the company does, and how it does it, should create and secure better futures for more people.

“Hollard Highway Heroes is a perfect example of what we mean when we talk about Better Futures,” says Elka du Piesanie, the competition manager. “And this year we want to expand the possibilities that Better Futures can offer.”

This year’s Hollard Highway Heroes competition is thus open to any truck driver, irrespective of who their insurer is. This both gives more drivers the opportunity to win big, and it encourages thousands more to drive better – which amplifies the road safety benefit that the competition offers.

“In previous years we’ve measured a 65% improvement in truck driver behaviour during the competition. That’s huge – and what’s more, the drivers retain their good driving habits long after the competition is over, and they inspire non-participating colleagues to also up their game on the road,” says Du Piesanie.

“Now imagine the positive effect of thousands more truck drivers participating in Highway Heroes this year. We’re very excited about this aspect of this year’s competition.”

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things

Hollard Trucking believes that every truck driver is a hero, Rautenbach states. Nearly all the commodities we all need and want are transported by road at some stage, and truck drivers literally keep our economy on the go. In so doing they face danger daily, and often spend weeks away from home and hearth.

“So the next time you pass a truck on the long road, please do the right – and cool – thing. Give the driver a friendly wave, and acknowledge them for who they are: a hero to you and to me,” says Rautenbach.

“The very definition of a hero is that it is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things. The tagline for the 2019 Hollard Highway Heroes competition reflects that: ‘Rewarding the extraordinary.’” “The very definition of a hero is that it is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things. The tagline for the 2019 Hollard Highway Heroes competition reflects that: ‘Rewarding the extraordinary.’”