To ensure skilled drivers, sound trucks and safe road use, Lafarge Africa Plc, has invested well over ₦132m to train hundreds of truck drivers in a tailored driving institution in Nigeria. The first batch of 200 drivers will be part of a three-year strategic training plan for 600 drivers. This initiative is the first of its kind in Nigeria.
In a statement made available to Business Hilights on Tuesday in Lagos, Director Logistics at Lafarge Africa Plc, Bruno Hounkpati, said “The primary aim of our Driving Institute is to model drivers’ behavior from the onset while equipping them with adequate training for truck driving. The school will ensure skilled drivers with safe driving skills that contribute to safer roads, sound trucks and safe roads in Nigeria. It will promote professionalism among truck drivers and also create jobs with our third party transport companies.”
Statistics showed that roads transportation account for 90% of freight and passenger movement in Nigeria and heavy good vehicles (trucks/trailers/articulated vehicles) are the dominant means of haulage mainly due to collapsed railway system.
Continuing, Hounkpati noted that “Most Nigerian truck drivers graduate from motor mates with inadequate and structured training after years as ‘Motor Boys’; training is inadequate,” stressing that “Lack of well-trained drivers hampers on fleet utilization, safe driving behaviors, hence productivity and employment opportunities”.
Additional statistics from the Federal Roads Safety Corp (FRSC) revealed that in 2016, commercial vehicles accounted for 53.8% of transportation in Nigeria.
The data also shows that 8,876 commercial vehicles were involved in road accidents. And of the 5,053 deaths from road accidents in the same year, 3,970 (79%) were male.
In his comments, the head of the driving school, Osaze Aghatise, disclosed that “One major way to reduce road related incidents and achieve our goal of Zero harm road safety is to raise the standard of drivers’ training in our operation and ensure that drivers think about safety first and always while on the road.
He said Lafarge operational policy is all about getting everyone, employees and contractors to think safety first, stressing that “This requires the right training and coaching to understand the risks involved in performing a task, to shape behaviors and to develop safety processes”.
“The school is in partnership with Transport Services Limited, a fleet management company, and the FRSC. Selected trainees will go through an initial rigorous screening, thorough classroom training, state of the art driving simulator and on the road coaching and assessment.
Aghatise submitted that Lafarge has carefully selected the instructors with strong local and international experience and certification to ensure trainees are taken through the highest standard of driver training.
Continuing, he said “Going forward, Lafarge contractors will only use drivers from the school”.