Lowes Petroleum has launched its own professional driver awards to celebrate the work of its 250 drivers who deliver millions of litres of fuel to regional Australia every year.
Lowes Petroleum’s general manager of health, safety and environment (HSE) Bernie Morris says the company was looking for a way to acknowledge the professionalism of its drivers.
After Lowe’s threw its support behind the Australian Road Safety Foundation’s annual national awareness campaign, Rural Road Safety Month, Morris says the inaugural award was the next step.
“Every day we are receiving comments from customers and the public to ‘stop and go’ traffic people about our driver’s professionalism and this was the perfect way to acknowledge this,” he said.
“Often there’s a perception that driving on country roads has less risk: that perception is wrong.
“As many as 94 per cent of Australians utilise rural roads at least once a year. With Christmas and the summer holidays upon us, and with more and more Australians holidaying at home – these roads are set to get busier.
“Our professional drivers share these roads and often see first-hand, road safety complacency. Most people go to work every day in an office or controlled environment, whereas for our drivers their office is the roads and highways.
“A loaded B-double can weigh up to 50 times that of the average car, so trucks take more distance to stop,” Morris added.
“People overtake in situations they shouldn’t, even on double lines and they speed in conditions where the road has a number of hidden obstacles.”
Lowes Petroleum says its drivers commit to best-practice standards. The inaugural winners exhibited both a professional attitude and behaviours in every aspect of their job. They are highly regarded amongst peers and customers and are drivers who have gone above and beyond in their duties, as a driver and for the business.
With operations across Australia’s east coast and Tasmania, five awards were presented to drivers from the company’s key regional operations including:
- Region 1: Townsville’s David Gibson, Western Queensland
- Region 2: Miles’ Wal Giddins, New South Wales
- Region 3: Dubbo’s Roger Hint
- Region 4: Victoria’s John Hotker from Horsham
- Region 5: Tasmania’s Graeme Stokes
With three decades on the road, John Hotker says Lowes Petroleum drivers committed to not only delivering the fuel safely to primary producers and regional businesses but also being vigilant about tank safety.
Speaking for the winners, Hotker says all the drivers developed relationships with their customers: from taking responsibility to ensure gates are opened, then closed properly to keep livestock safe to bringing in a few essential items to farms isolated by flood.
“We are urging drivers over Christmas to slow down, don’t drive fatigued and, with many regional areas now experiencing flood, never try to drive through roads covered with water,” Hotker said.
“It’s not the depth that presents the risk, but you could get halfway across and a bank breaks upstream sending a wall of water that could wash your vehicle into the river.
“The lockdowns of Covid made you really appreciate being on the open road. The fact we get to deliver to a variety of people, sharing the ups and downs of living in regional Australia: all the while getting a bird’s eye view of the country from my cab.”