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Fuel transporter hails driver professionalism

Lowes Petroleum introduces awards for drivers across key regional operations

Award-winning Lowes Petroleum driver John Hotker from Horsham, Victoria

With more than 250 drivers delivering millions of litres of fuel every year to country Australia, regional fuel transporter Lowes Petroleum is recognising their commitment to safety with the introduction of their inaugural professional driver awards.

David Gibson from Townsville with his Lowes driver award

Lowes Petroleum’s general manager of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), Bernie Morris, said the company had been looking for a way to acknowledge the professionalism of their drivers.

Morris explains that when the company threw its support behind the Australian Road Safety Foundation’s annual national awareness campaign, Rural Road Safety Month, the natural addition and next step was the inaugural award.

“Every day we are receiving comments from customers and the public to ‘stop and go’ traffic people about our driver’s professionalism and this was the perfect way to acknowledge this,” he said.

“Often there’s a perception that driving on country roads has less risk: that perception is wrong.

“As many as 94 per cent of Australians utilise rural roads at least once a year. With Christmas and the summer holidays upon us, and with more and more Australians holidaying at home – these roads are set to get busier.

“Our professional drivers share these roads and often see first-hand road safety complacency. Most people go to work every day in an office or controlled environment, whereas for our drivers their office is the roads and highways,” Morris said.

Dubbo’s Roger Hinton represented region 3 in NSW

“A loaded B-double can weigh up to 50 times that of the average car, so trucks take more distance to stop,” he said.

“People overtake in situations they shouldn’t, even on double lines and they speed in conditions where the road has a number of hidden obstacles.”

Lowes Petroleum said its drivers commit to best-practice standards.

According to Lowes, the inaugural winners exhibited both a professional attitude and behaviours in every aspect of their job. They are highly regarded among peers and customers and are drivers who have gone above and beyond in their duties, as a driver and for the business.

With operations across Australia’s east coast and Tasmania, five awards were presented to drivers from the company’s key regional operations.

The winners were: region one, Far North Queensland, David Gibson, Townsville; region 2, Western Queensland, Wal Giddins, Miles; region 3, NSW, Roger Hinton, Dubbo; region four, Victoria, John Hotker, Horsham; and region five, Graeme Stokes, Tasmania.

Collectively the drivers chalk up over 100 years of truck driving experience.

RELATED ARTICLE: Lowes Petroleum driver Michael Thompson a life saver

With three decades on the road, John Hotker said Lowes Petroleum drivers committed to not only delivering the fuel safely to primary producers and regional businesses but also being vigilant about tank safety.

Warren ‘Wal’ Giddins from Miles in western Queensland

Speaking for the winners, Hotker said all the drivers developed relationships with their customers, from taking responsibility to ensure gates are opened then closed properly to keep livestock safe, to bringing in a few essential items to farms isolated by flood.

“We are urging drivers over Christmas to slow down, don’t drive fatigued and, with many regional areas now experiencing flood, never try to drive through roads covered with water,” Hotker said.

“It’s not the depth that presents the risk, but you could get halfway across and a bank breaks upstream sending a wall of water that could wash your vehicle into the river.

“The lockdowns of COVID made you really appreciate being on the open road.

“The fact we get to deliver to a variety of people, sharing the ups and downs of living in regional Australia: all the while getting a bird’s eye view of the country from my cab.”

Tasmania’s Graeme Stokes (left) receiving his professional driver award
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