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Prime Mover Magazine


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Geoff Crouch

Professional drivers, highway heroes

August 2019

It was a day like any other for Linfox driver Andrew Hastings, travelling along Victoria’s Western Freeway in February earlier this year.

However, it was all to change when he came across an accident scene – two vehicles had collided, were now on fire and the drivers were injured.

First on the scene, a quick-thinking Andrew used his truck’s fire extinguisher to stop the flames before helping an injured woman out of her car. He then tended to the severely injured driver of the other vehicle, performing first aid and comforting them until emergency services arrived.

This is just one of the many amazing stories of our Highway Guardians.

Stories like that of Darren Cooke who saved the life of a fellow truckie from a fiery scene on the Hume Highway, or Brendon Gilbert who assisted a motorcyclist having a medical episode on one of Sydney’s busiest roads, or Brett Hood who saved a woman’s life at a crash outside of Warwick, QLD.

For eight years, the ATA has sought out Australia’s Highway Guardians to give them the recognition they deserve, acknowledge their bravery and celebrate their heroism. 

Proudly supported by Bridgestone Australia, the ATA is proud to deliver the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award to those drivers who go above and beyond.

This award honours the great community service of professional truck drivers in performing heroic and selfless acts while carrying out their normal role.

Each award recipient receives recognition through a presentation at their workplace among peers, as well as being hosted and acknowledged at our national conferences.

This is our way of saying ‘thank you’. ‘Thank you’ for being committed to safety, and ‘thank you’ for showing the world how incredible and important Australia’s truck drivers are.

But not only are they truck drivers; they are humans too. They have families, they have friends and they are a member of a community.

The incidents they are often exposed to can take an emotional toll.

It is important all road users, whether they be a driver, cyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist, have empathy for truck drivers and understand that we are all connected.

As of late June, there were nineteen Highway Guardians on our honour roll, each with a unique story.

Each unique story like those of Andrew, Darren, Brendon and Brett contribute to bridging the perceived gap between the trucking industry and wider community.

By sharing these stories, we are making a difference to the road safety conversation.

The title of Highway Guardian is not exclusive to one person, but rather a growing number of professional truck drivers over time if, and when incidents occur.

No incident or story is held up against or compared to another.

Once a Highway Guardian, always a Highway Guardian.

Truck drivers are often the first responders to road trauma incidents, providing vital assistance and even saving lives.

It is in these times of adversity that we see the true gems of our industry.
Do you know a highway hero?

For more information about the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian award or to make a nomination, head to www.truck.net.au/HighwayGuardian

Geoff Crouch
Chair,
Australian Trucking Association

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