Cape Town, 26 November 2019 – At an annual awards ceremony held in Cape Town, Discovery and ChildSafe named Peterus Wagner from Kraaifontein the best scholar transporter in the Safe Travel to School programme for 2019 and lucky winner of a new minibus. The programme combines telematics technology from Discovery Insure and education to promote good driving behaviour that makes transport to and from schools safer for children. Based on the phenomenal success of the programme in the Western Cape, in his address at the award ceremony, Discovery Insure CEO, Anton Ossip, invited corporates and all levels of government to partner on the Safe Travel To School programme to achieve the goal of zero road fatalities.
Ossip explains that the technology monitors the number of harsh events, including braking, cornering and accelerating, among other measures. “We have seen that the driving behaviour keeps improving from the time a driver joins the programme, and throughout the first two years, with driving behaviour improving by 14% on average, which is sustained over time. The programme evidences the potential to shift behaviour positively to deliver incredible results for society. We are ready to work with any partners willing to make the goal of zero fatalities a reality,” he said.
- The Safe Travel to School programme started in 2014 and to date there have been no road fatalities or significant crashes.
- There are 1 000 Safe Travel to School scholar transporters in the Western Cape.
- Scholar transporters who are part of this programme drive more than 19 000 children to and from school every day.
- The driving behaviour data indicates an 82% reduction in harsh acceleration, 63% reduction in harsh braking and 81% reduction in harsh cornering over the 12 to 24 months since a driver joined the programme.
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Bongiwe Mbingo-Gigaba, said children were a national asset and ensuring their safety was a number one priority. “We love our children, and we want them safe and protected. We were watching the [Safe Travel to School] video clip, with the children speaking for themselves, saying they do not feel safe. We need to applaud those that look after them. We also want to say to Discovery and ChildSafe, we wish that we could have this programme in other provinces,” Mbingo-Gigaba said.
“Scholar transport is one thing that we need to continuously speak about – there is a lot of negligence on the roads. So, the people who are transporting our kids must know they carry the future of this country. As government, this is one partnership we shouldn’t fail to get into – we should partner with you.”
Johannes Makgatho, the Chief Director of Road Transport Regulation in the Department of Transport thanked Discovery for supporting the Safe Travel to School programme. “We must commend you for the clean bill of health (zero fatalities) over the past five years,” Makgatho said.
The Safe Travel to School programme recognises the best scholar transporters based on their driving scores in every quarter. Numerous awards recognise the top drivers, and the best scholar transporter of the year receives a brand new vehicle. This year’s winner, Peterus Wagner, maintained an incredible average monthly score of 450 out of 450 throughout 2019. “This is a wonderful programme,” said Wagner about winning the grand prize.
Professor Sebastian van As, Chairperson of the ChildSafe Board and Head of Trauma Unit at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital said, “The Safe Travel to School programme proves how a collaboration between the NGO-sector, the government and the private sector can lead to saving the lives of young children, our greatest treasure.”
As part of its goal to create a nation of great drivers and to support the National Development Plan’s road safety objectives, the Safe Travel to School programme offers an opportunity for Discovery Insure to extend its telematics technology to non-clients. With a track record of 100% safe driving, it is clear that the methods and the commitment from all scholar transporters is an excellent enabler of safe and reliable scholar transport.
With Discovery Insure’s technology installed in the minibus, scholar transporters also have free tracking of their vehicle for easy recovery and access to Impact Alert, a Discovery Insure service that contacts emergency services in case of an accident. To ensure greater awareness of their driving, scholar transporters get ongoing feedback on their scores for each trip. These driving scores motivate scholar transporters and help to determine the best drivers in every quarter and the year. The best result is that these scholar transporters are making travelling a safer experience for the over 19 000 children they drive to and from school across the Western Cape each day.
Through additional partnerships with, for example, C-Track, Tiger Wheel and Tyre, Specsavers and Essilor, the programme’s ability to promote safe travel for children is strengthened by offering free eye and vehicle checks and tracking vehicles for safe recovery. Scholar transporters have selected access to health screenings, defensive driving and first aid courses and receive support for vehicle maintenance that together contribute to improved road safety for children using their transport services.
Discovery currently provides all funding and facilitates partnerships for the programme. With the excellent results of the programme, there is now the potential to create further partnerships and to replicate this model nationally to reach more school children with safe and reliable scholar transport.
“It is rewarding for us to see the commitment from this growing community of scholar transporters who put the safety of school children at the heart of the service they provide. Through our investment in Safe Travel to School, Discovery is fulfilling our purpose of protecting lives and making changes in the environment that have a real social impact. We look forward to creating more partnerships that can see this programme protecting the safety of more children as they travel to and from schools across South Africa,” concluded Ruth Lewin, Head of Discovery Sustainability.