Small and mid-sized commercial fleet operators in low-and middle-income countries often face challenges to recruit well-trained drivers. Too often, professional driving schools do not exist, there is no clear driver training curriculum and classroom-based training takes drivers off the road, reducing their productivity.
In response to this challenge, North Star Alliance and Fleet Forum have entered into a partnership today to develop modular driver training delivered through the North Star Alliance Roadside Wellness Centres.
“If you can’t get the driver to the classroom, you have to get the classroom to the driver,” said Paul Jansen, Director of Fleet Forum. “Road traffic accidents are expected to increase dramatically by 2030 to become the third leading cause of death globally. That increase will have a particularly significant impact in low- and middle-income countries, where road traffic accidents already pose an enormous health risk. Fleet Forum has developed an award-winning Fleet Safety Management Toolkit, which has been tested and used by several aid and development organisations in Africa and India.
“We now want to use that knowledge and expertise to improve fleet safety in the commercial sector as well,” said Jansen.
“Health and safety go hand-in-hand when it comes to keeping drivers on the road,” explains Luke Disney, Executive Director of the North Star Alliance. “We are extremely excited about our partnership with Fleet Forum and the opportunity to expand our training services to include their award-winning road safety programme. Our discussions with industry representatives in Africa and India make us confident that by bringing training products to drivers on the road, we’ll have a significant positive impact on small- and medium-sized transport operators.”
North Star Alliance operates a network of Roadside Wellness Centres across Africa and is expanding to other regions. By leveraging that network, Fleet Forum can reach out to the broader transport community. North Star and Fleet Forum also see the added value of using each organisation’s core expertise: North Star’s in depth knowledge of mobile populations and driver health and Fleet Forum’s capabilities in fleet safety management.
Said Jansen: “We will start our joint training programme by developing modules that focus on safe and healthy driving practices. In the immediate term, we will include modules on Eco-driving and Basic Truck Maintenance. Training truck drivers will not be the only element of this partnership. We know from experience that in order to mitigate the risk of road traffic accidents, we have to train management as well. So while drivers are being trained in the Wellness Centre, Fleet Forum staff will simultaneously train management on road traffic risk management.”