GEORGE NEWS - George's top professional truck and bus drivers will show off their skills during the 2019 Driver of the Year competition at the Eden Meander shopping centre parking lot on Saturday 19 October.
The municipality is celebrating the event's 40th year - a proud tradition and highly contested event among the city and region's large vehicle drivers.
George municipal traffic chief Donovan Saptoe said the annual competition, which coincides with National Transport Month, has grown every year since its inception in the 1970s. "About 100 drivers from local distribution companies, public transport and the municipality are expected to participate on Saturday," said Saptoe.
This year one of the municipality's own, George fireman Solly Gysman, will be defending the title. Gysman won the articulated vehicle category and the coveted overall title last year, leaving 84 other competitors in his wake.
Driver of the Year is an annual event organised by the George Municipality to promote responsible driving and develop skills. Drivers compete in five categories including buses, vans, rigid trucks, articulated vehicles and rigid drawbar vehicles.
Points are allocated based on a vehicle inspection, road test and manoeuvres through an obstacle course, and winners are announced at the end of the day.
Proceedings start at 08:00 in the parking lot at the back of the centre and include a children's educational entertainment area. "We invite parents to bring their children to not only come see the big trucks, but also to come ride bicycles and tricycles (provided) on road safety mats. Special attendants will teach road traffic rules and road safety awareness to the kids while they are having fun," said Saptoe.
Members of the public will also have the opportunity to experience the effects of alcohol on sight, mobility and perception by trying to walk in a straight line wearing "drunken goggles".
Local radio station EDENfm will be broadcasting live from the event.
October was declared national Transport Month in 2005 to increase awareness of the importance of transport for the country's economy and to encourage safe and more affordable, accessible and reliable transport in the country. In addition to the Driver of the Year contest, the George Traffic Department continues with ongoing awareness, maintaining high visibility as well as roadblocks focusing on drunken driving and reckless driving, which includes drag racing in public streets and spaces.
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