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Prime Mover Magazine


Heroic tow truck driver wins Guardian Award

A Coffs Harbour-based tow truck driver, who helped save the life of woman in January, has been recognised by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) with the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian Award.

North Coast Towing driver, Deon Atkins, received the accolade last Friday during a gala event at the National Trucking Industry Awards in Canberra.

While driving his truck on the Pacific Highway 17 January, Atkins came across an accident in which he stopped, and came to the aid of a woman slumped across her steering wheel.

“I jumped out of my truck, opened her airway and kept her breathing until the ambulance arrived,” he recalled. “I reached in through the driver’s window, which was smashed, and supporting her head and neck, lifted her up into her seat so I could get the airway open.”

An ex-fire fighter, Atkins swiftly put to use his first aid training. NSW Ambulance Acting Inspector Jacinta Young, who was the responding paramedic, hailed Atkins' heroic actions, confirming he likely prevented a fatality.

“The actions of Deon Atkins saved her life," said Young. "By simply opening up her airway and maintaining her head in the neutral position, we have no doubt he saved her life."

The ATA Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian Award honours heroic and selfless acts performed by members of the trucking community. The award, created in part to bring greater focus to these exceptional incidents, provides another platform in which to contribute to road safety awareness.

Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, Andrew Moffatt, said his company was delighted to spotlight the astounding efforts of truck drivers who go beyond their call of duty.

“Deon Atkins is another stand out of the trucking fraternity who doesn’t see himself as a hero, but has prevented the loss of a life through his quick thinking and direct actions,” he said.

ATA Chairman, Geoff Crouch, said Deon Atkins and companies like North Coast Towing serve as a helpful reminder of the benefits for effective training and safety procedures in the industry.

“Deon was able to call on his training, assess the situation and then perform the relevant actions – all while remaining calm and in control of the situation," said Crouch. “North Coast Towing and Deon prove that all trucking companies, from small operators through to major fleets have a role to play in road safety.”

(Image L-R: Highway Guardian, Deon Atkins, of North Coast Towing, and Geoff May, National Commercial Manager of Bridgestone Tyres.)

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