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International Drivers' Day

The Registrar/Chief Executive, Professor Jide Owatunmise, who is associated with the Professional Driving and Safety Academy and formerly served as the National President of the Association of Driving Instructors of Nigeria (ADIN), is advocating for the official recognition, appreciation, and encouragement of drivers.

His proposal entails establishing and commemorating an International Drivers’ Day in Nigeria, which has already received the endorsement of the United Nations.

Professor Owatunmise emphasizes that research reports at both the global and national levels have indicated that human factors contribute to more than 80% of road traffic accidents, with over 70% of these incidents attributed to drivers. Evidently, drivers play a pivotal role in safeguarding invaluable lives and properties, underscoring the necessity to promote the acknowledgment, skill development, rewards, and motivation of drivers to enhance road safety and security in Nigeria.

“In light of this, our organization has undertaken the responsibility of promoting the observance of Drivers’ Day in collaboration with pertinent stakeholders in Nigeria, with the ultimate aim of transforming it into an international event celebrated globally,” he remarked.

Furthermore, he specified that the 3rd Thursday of November each year is designated for the commemoration of Drivers’ Day. This initiative will complement the Annual “Day of Remembrance of Road Crash Victims,” which is observed on the 3rd Sunday of November worldwide. The inaugural Drivers’ Day event in Nigeria is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, in Lagos.

Introducing a driver rewards program effectively incentivizes drivers to improve their safety performance and raise their safety ratings on the road. Such programs foster a safety-oriented culture within fleets that may have faced challenges in this regard in the past.

Inadequate reward systems and working conditions for professional drivers can contribute to health and safety issues. For dedicated drivers, their motivation extends beyond merely completing journeys and receiving a paycheck; it involves taking pride in their contributions to the organization’s success.

It is essential to understand that motivating employees and contract drivers goes beyond monetary incentives.

While competitive pay and benefits are crucial, they serve as baseline motivators. To sustain motivation, organizations should explore other factors and initiatives that contribute to driver satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement.

According to a publication by Netradyne on ‘How to Create a Driver Incentive Program,’ the primary objectives of driver incentive programs are enhancing fleet safety, increasing customer satisfaction, and boosting revenue. Such programs effectively contribute to driver retention, enhance training, improve fleet culture, and encourage positive changes in driver behavior.

Key benefits of a driver incentive program include positively reinforcing safe and productive driving behaviors through rewards and recognition. Effective safety incentive programs operate on merit-based systems that foster better relationships between fleets and drivers.

When selecting behaviors to reward, it’s essential to have measurable and trackable criteria over time, often facilitated through telematics systems and vehicle sensors. Effective communication of program expectations, regular driver feedback collection, game formats, suitable rewards, and public acknowledgment play critical roles in making a driver incentive program successful.

A well-designed driver rewards program not only strengthens a safety-oriented culture but also fosters a positive environment where drivers feel their contributions are genuinely valued, resulting in increased morale and loyalty.

It is crucial to design the program thoughtfully and consider potential unintended consequences, ensuring that safety remains the paramount focus. Care should also be taken to prevent any adverse behaviors or under-reporting of incidents or accidents resulting from the reward system. Disciplinary processes should be clearly defined for drivers who violate rules and regulations.

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