VTA salute for impeccable heavy vehicle drivers

After several years of disruption because of the pandemic, it’s been a real thrill and privilege for the VTA to commemorate the return of our heavy vehicle driver safety award program, Driver Salute.

Driver Salute is our bi-monthly recognition and reward program offered in conjunction with Optix (formerly DriveRisk) and Goodyear Fleet. Unlike several other industry awards, Driver Salute recognises heavy vehicle drivers who demonstrate outstanding and consistent safety practices behind the wheel. 

As important as the heroic efforts are of many drivers confronting road accident and associated trauma, where Driver Salute is different is in its ability to reward safe driving, which leads to less accidents, fewer confrontation, and safer roads for all.

In this first half of 2023, it’s been our great pleasure to present Driver Salute Awards to three outstanding drivers, as well as acknowledge the support of their employers and their commitment to enshrining safety within their respective operational cultures.

In March, we visited Vulcan Pty Ltd to announce driver Luke Triantafillou as our second recipient of the Driver Salute Award, and the first since the end of the pandemic.

In-cab footage provided by Optix confirmed Luke’s demonstrated knowledge of safe driving behaviours and an ability to put them into practice while out on the road. Luke is a terrific ambassador for our industry and a very worthy recipient of the award, which was decided by a judging panel from the VTA, Optix, Goodyear and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

Tony Waalwyk with his Driver Salute Award.

In May, we celebrated the safe and consistent driving practices of Tony Waalwyk from Bingo Industries, where it was terrific to have Tony’s colleagues and peers recognise his efforts.

And in recent weeks we travelled to AKD Softwoods in Colac in regional Victoria, where friends, colleagues and family of driver Ross Maw gathered to celebrate his years of safe, careful and considered driving. 

Each of these individuals are unassuming people who didn’t seek the limelight or the accolades they received. 

They are people who put safety first every time they get behind the wheel, as attested to by their records, as well as the Optix footage that tells the real story of their driving, which is driving to the conditions, maintaining safe speeds and distances, and making the attainment of road safety a priority throughout their working day.

We also celebrate the contribution of the employers for supporting these drivers in their quest to be consistently safe. 

So often, behaviours behind the wheel as professional drivers reflect the values of their employers, and on this measure Vulcan, Bingo Industries and AKD Softwoods deserve credit for encouraging their teams to put safety first.

The VTA will continue to present Driver Salute awards over the remainder of the year, and we thank Goodyear, Optix and the NHVR for being so supportive of the program. 

The community rightly has an expectation that professional heavy vehicle drivers will prioritise the safety of the motoring public and themselves ahead of everything else. 

Driver Salute recognises these drivers and demonstrates to the public the transport industry’s commitment to enshrining safety in every heavy vehicle driver.

The VTA welcomes applicants from Victorian-based operators that deploy video technology and telematics in their fleets can submit in-cabin footage or profiles of drivers demonstrating sustained best-practice safety behaviour in the course of their duties.

Award recipients will be chosen on merit and will have demonstrated knowledge of safe driving behaviours and an ability to put them into practice while out on the road. 

Bi-monthly winners will receive prizes from Goodyear and Optix, along with industry recognition for putting safety first.

Congratulations again to Luke, Tony and Ross for their very worthy safety achievements.

  • Peter Anderson is CEO, Victorian Transport Association

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