Peter Uzoho

Austrian Technologies Nigeria Limited (ATN) and world leading drivers’ safety training company, Test- & Training International (TTI) are partnering the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to introduce world class Drivers’ Safety Training and Certification (DSTC) for commercial and professional drivers in Nigeria.

The main objective of the DSTC is to develop a network of drivers’ training tracks with the participation of local investors throughout the country, which will have driving instructors, fleet managers and drivers trained, evaluated, and certified; each in tailor-made programmes on state-of-the-art safety training tracks, according to international standards.

This was disclosed in Lagos at a press briefing and business networking cocktail organised by the Commercial Counsellor of the Austrian Embassy, Mr. Guido Stock, as part of the Clean, Economic and Safe Transportation (CEST) programme for Nigeria, supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

The DSTC is led by former Formula One driver and two times Le Mans winner, Alexander Wurz and his father Franz Wurz, a European legend in racing (three times European Champion in Rallycross), and inventor of modern Road Safety Training in Europe.

Wurz, who explained the outstanding results of DSTC in Austria, said fatalities among young drivers have been reduced by 65 per cent on a year-to-year comparison between 2015 and 2003 due to introduction of obligatory driver safety training.

“TTI also successfully introduced European training standards for tanker drivers. As an example, British Petroleum (BP) was able to reduce rollover accidents by 80 per cent and rear-end collisions by 60 per cent within 1.5 years upon implementation,” Wurz said.

Highlighting the expected benefits of the DSTC programme to Nigeria and the larger society, Chief Executive Director, Austrian Technologies Nigeria Limited, Mr. Johann Rieger, stated that the new ATN-TTI program would create a win-win environment and substantial benefits for all stakeholders.

According to him, besides hundreds of new high skill and attractive working places and extensive know-how transfer, society will benefit in general by the reduction of the number of accidents – fatalities and injuries.

Rieger said: “Transport corporations will benefit, as a result of the decrease in loss of man power, damaged vehicles and/or lost goods and reduction of insurance premiums. Additionally, they will be able to employ drivers that are certified based on international standards. Insurance companies will benefit from huge savings in accident related compensations.

“Commercial and other professional drivers will be given the opportunity to certify themselves as professionals and thus benefit from better remunerations based on their certification level and track records. The government and FRSC will profit from improving efficiency in road safety and gain positive economic impact on GDP growth and employment.”

On his part, Corps Sector Commander, FRSC Lagos, Hyginus Omeje, expressed delight about the initiative, saying the commission would play its regulatory and management part well in the partnership to ensure that standard drivers’ training as obtained in Austria was replicated in Nigeria.