Australian, News, Truck driver, Trucking awards

Professional Drivers Awards honour the ‘best of the best’

A major fuel transport company has recognised the professionalism of its drivers with its annual Professional Drivers Awards.

Lowes Petroleum founded the awards in 2021 to acknowledge its drivers’ commitment to road safety, as well as their overall contribution to the business.

With over 200 drivers transporting millions of litres of fuel a year across hundreds of thousands of kilometres of rural roads, the awards criteria includes reviewing drive cam alerts, logbook and fatigue breaches and incidents like crossovers and speeding.

Mick Woodham from Albury claimed the top prize this time around, and said he was “blown away” by the honour.

With more than 30 years of truck driving under his belt, Woodham said safety and planning are central to his work.

“In a day in the life of driving trucks you don’t know what you will encounter, whether that is animals on the road or motorists overtaking recklessly.”

The other winners included Mick Low from the Mareeba Depot for Region 1, Steve Tatum from the St George Depot for Region 2, Adrian Curtis from Cooma NSW for Region 3 and Matthew Denholm from the Hobart Depot for Region 5.

Honourable mentions went to Peter Lynn from Mackay, QLD, David Causley from Grafton, NSW, Tim Dowling from Penrith, NSW, Luke Lacey from Yarraville, Victoria and Douglas Fraser from Burnie, Tasmania.

Lowes’ general manager of Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Bernie Morris said while all its drivers follow best practise for the industry, the awards are an added incentive to motivate its drivers to be as safe and professional as possible.

“We assess the nature of the nominations around customer service, the care drivers showed for their vehicles, the commitment to their depots and to the team they work with,” Morris said.

“The priority is always safety. In one instance of dash cam footage, you can see a motorcycle barely missing a fuel tanker head-on after breaking multiple road rules.

“It’s crazy what our drivers go through. We have even had footage where it is obvious the person has pretty much fallen asleep before waking in the nick of time.

“The vision is testament to our drivers’ abilities to not only read the road, but also anticipate actions by other road users that could be dangerous.”

He said that while most people go to work each day knowing that their workplace is a safe environment, truck drivers don’t have that luxury.

“Everyday road conditions, the weather, vehicle issues and the public create dangerous work environments,” he added.

“As a heavy vehicle operator, we are made to plan: we plan our stops, we plan when our drivers sleep, all of that, but other people just jump in their cars and off they go.

“Our drivers make hundreds of risk decisions daily to ensure that they, and others around them, remain safe.”

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