Since 2003 more than 350,000 truck drivers in nearly 50 countries had participated in Scania Driver Competitions (SDC) – the world’s largest truck and bus driving event – that focuses on increasing road-safety awareness, improving fuel consumption and minimising the environmental impact of commercial vehicles.
The final driving skills round of the inaugural SDC Southeast Asia 2016-2017 (SDC-SEA) edition recently in Malaysia saw 19 drivers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Singapore competing and it was the Malaysians who took the top driver titles.
The bus category was won by Law Cheok Gheen of Zulco Sdn Bhd who received RM10,000 in cash, a Challenge Trophy and certificate.
Law, who said he was very happy to receive the award from such a high-level competition, also trains the drivers in the company where he is a manager.
“I need to know the actual situation that the drivers face to have the proper mindset; so this win adds to my credibility and closes the gap for me as a trainer and manager when I advise them on how to be safer and more cost efficient.”
The truck category was won by R. Sarveswaren Srues of Air Products Sdn Bhd, who received RM10,000 in cash, a Challenge Trophy and certificate.
Describing his win as a huge surprise, Sarveswaren said he really did not expect to win but was thrilled that he did.
“What I learned from this competition is the importance of being focused when inside a vehicle and on the road, to be aware of your surroundings and also plan or strategise your journey. It has definitely made me understand and appreciate the importance of safe driving.”
Scania says the objective of the SDC is to elevate the status and prestige of heavy commercial vehicle drivers by recognising the true heroes – the drivers themselves. This inaugural regional edition was made more demanding than the local editions previously with tougher rules and scenarios to be more challenging for the 19 finalists.
Out on the road, the competency of the drivers is seen as even more important today in overcoming the many challenges the transport industry is facing, hence the theme of this year’s competition – Face the Challenge!
The truck drivers were tested using a Scania G410LA6x2MSZ attached to a trailer carrying a 20ft container, while the bus drivers were in the Scania Marcopolo K410IB4x2 coach. During the competition, their abilities were tested through a series of timed manoeuvres – the ‘Knock the Cone’ precision challenge and ‘Boardwalk’ obstacle test.
Enrolment for the competition began in 2016 and more than 1,000 drivers from all over the region initially went through elimination rounds that tested their knowledge of road transport laws and regulations, alternative fuels, fuel-efficient and safe driving, load securing, occupational risks and health, and emergency procedures.
“We have seen an increasing interest in the SDC and that is a good indication that it has been a catalyst in getting heavy commercial vehicle drivers to upgrade their skills and that means safer drivers, safer conditions for all road users and better fuel economy for operators,” said Marie Sjödin Enström, Managing Director of Scania Southeast Asia.
Being at the finals of the SDC is also seen as one of the ultimate achievements for many experienced drivers as the competition represents the professionalism required in the industry.
SDC is sponsored by Michelin (M) Sdn Bhd, and supported by Jabatan Keselamatan Jalan Raya (JKJR), Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan Malaysia (JPJ) and Embassy of Sweden.