Truck Drivers and Motor Boys Back to School
Do you know that about 15 persons die every day in Nigeria due to avoidable road accident? his is according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its Road Transport Data 2017. Over the period covered by the report, the number of people who lost their lives to road crashes came to 2,673 in one year. Trucks and tankers contributed a large chunk to the figure.
To many observers, “trucks should be banned from moving during the day”, others suggest that “roads should be constructed for trucks alone”. Are the trucks really responsible for the accidents? Often time, the problem is not with the machine, but the drivers. The NBS report says speed violation by reckless drivers accounts for most of the major cause of many of the accidents. Also at the root on a number of accidents is the use of ‘motor boys’ to drive trucks, tankers and other Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) is at the root of many of the accidents. Motor boys are the sidekicks of Nigerian truck drivers. Apart from functioning as the drivers assistants they are responsible for the maintenance checks of the trucks.
This doesn’t mean that repairs are done promptly after motor boys find faults in the vehicle. It only means the motor boy adds to his list, another thing to improvise for. He knows how to stop the truck when the brakes have failed, he is the fuel gauge for the vehicle, he has a patch for every broken part of the vehicle, he is the heart of the truck and the truck’s next driver.
There are two lead trainers, one Australian consultant on HGV Driver Training, four SMITH/HGV accredited driver Instructors, a truck mechanical expert/trainer and one Occupational Health expert. After graduation, the school organises a “meet and pairing” session where transporters looking to hire new drivers meet all the certified trainees. This way, the trained drivers are eased into the industry filling the skill gap that has been created by several years of motor-boy-turned-driver cycle.
To address these issues and ensure more safety on our roads, Lafarge developed a comprehensive training program tailored to the needs of Nigerian truck drivers.
Apart from the need to meet the world standard in operating HGV in Nigeria, the training programme, tagged Driving School of the Future, was created to provide more jobs for Nigerians. To ensure quality and a more robust outcome, the drivers training program was done in partnership with Transport Service Limited (TSL), and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC). Cross River State helped in the recruitment of 200 beneficiaries for the pilot program. Nine experts are facilitating the training programme.