by providing funding and expertise to help reduce the number of fatal road crashes in Zambia that occur each year due to poor driving standards.
Having worked with Transaid to help struggling transport systems in Malawi, Uganda and Kenya in past years, Bibby Distribution seized the opportunity to send expert driving trainer Jon Aspden to Zambia to provide two weeks of intensive training at the Industrial Training Centre Trust (ITCT).
Based in Lusaka, the ITCT is the only not for profit driver training institution in the whole of Zambia. Transaid has partnered with the centre, and with the help of its member consortium, is helping to build capacity and improve professional driver training and safety standards. The project aims to ultimately reduce the number of road deaths occurring in the region, which is the third biggest killer after HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Jon Aspden says: "As a land-locked country Zambia relies heavily on roads for import and export of goods and this creates huge problems for its transport systems. These problems have been compounded by the loophole in Zambian law which allows people who have no driving ability to go straight into learning to drive a 16-tonne vehicle."
Jon’s task was to observe and assess the ITCT’s newly appointed driving instructor, Moses Phiri, as he helped students in differing stages of confidence, experience and abilities to learn to drive large goods vehicles safely. Jon offered support and advice on basic driving skill, techniques, use of feedback, encouragement, praise and guidance in objectives for Moses’ trainees and the guidance began to pay dividends with students almost instantly.
Jon adds: "In Africa it costs 250 per cent more to move goods from A to B than in Europe due to a number of interrelated factors, including poor road conditions and infrastructure, few road safety regulations and lack of law enforcement. This in turn creates bad practice in terms of driver behaviour such as overloading of vehicles, untrained and unskilled drivers, poor driving techniques, unsecure loads and badly maintained vehicles leading to death and injury.
"Thanks to Transaid’s continued support in improving professional driver training standards not only are the number of road accidents and fatalities being reduced but, with the increase in skills and knowledge that driver trainers and trainees receive, the employability and living standards of the country’s residents are increasing."
Jon has now returned to his day job as a DSA registered LGV instructor covering North West England & Scotland for Bibby Distribution.
Ongoing support of Transaid is part of Bibby Distribution’s continued charitable commitments, including the support of local charities through its 60-strong network of distribution centres across the UK.