GEORGE NEWS - Excitement at the SWD Driver of the Year Competition 2013 was fuelled when George Executive Mayor Alderman Charles Standers announced that the competition will become one of his projects next year and will grow into a major event. He also added R1 000 to the winners prize money.
The overall winner in the competition was Elrich Stoffels of Elrich Transport. Stoffels won the competition in 2005 as well as 2011 and was placed third in 2011 in the Western Cape provincial competition.
Stoffels said he has been taking part in the competition for the past 10 years. "I really gave it my best. I'm so excited and actually shocked," he said.
Stoffels is a truck driver by profession and likes doing the competition to refresh his skills on the road. He even welcomes the part of the competition where the vehicle gets tested because it helps him with his checks and balances, he said.
The winners in the different categories were: Pieter Campher from Coca-Cola Fortune (forklift), Taswill Campher from Triton (rigid) and Eugene Palmer from BP Atlantic (rigid draw bar).
The local traffic authority of George and the Driver Training and Education Committee hosted the event on Saturday at the Shadow Centre in York Street, after it was postponed twice. Rosa Louw, coordinator of the competition, said it was initially postponed to sort out finer details and then again to have the event during Transport Month (October), which gave it added impetus.
She said one of the main purposes of the event is to encourage traffic safety and so reduce the carnage on the roads. It is her firm belief that people should be educated on road safety first, before the law is enforced.
Drivers competed in the articulated, rigid, bus and LDV categories with a new category for forklifts introduced this year. Drivers needed to have a valid driver's licence and a PRDP in place, except for the forklift category. The best drivers of each category have been invited to compete provincially. A date for the provincial competition has not been set as yet.The competition comprises a pre-trip inspection, obstacle and road test. "This project does not only assist the drivers in becoming professional drivers, but also helps to reduce the expenses of a company should the vehicle be involved in a road accident.
The Driver of the Year Competition is a registered sport at the SWD Sports Council.
The judges in the obstacle test concentrate as they judge the contenders in the competition.
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