Cartrack South Africa is one of several companies supporting an innovative new programme designed to help truck drivers improve their fitness and on-the-road performance…

With truck drivers spending the majority of their working lives in a sedentary position, their mental and physical alertness has to be razor sharp at all times. When mistakes occur, it can have terrible consequences for themselves, their employer and ordinary road users.

In this context, leading fleet management, stolen vehicle recovery and insurance telematics provider, Cartrack, has thrown its support behind Your Truck Your Gym, a driver fitness programme developed by FleetWatch truck magazine and the Stellenbosch University Biokinetics Department. The programme involves the offering of a detailed exercise routine that allows drivers to use the truck tractor and trailer as a personal gym.

Your Truck Your Gym has been endorsed by The Road Safety Foundation South Africa, and is supported by range of other sponsors, including GRW, MAN Automotive South Africa, Shell Lubricants, Hollard, Trucking Wellness (which falls under the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry) and NOSA Logistics.

Cartrack South Africa CEO, Andre Ittmann, notes the importance of the programme.

“The fitter a driver is, the better he will perform on the road. Often, poor driving is rooted in physiological fatigue. The longer you sit behind the wheel without moving, the harder it is to stay mentally sharp and perform well on the road.”

“It is for this reason that we are proud to support the Your Truck Your Gym initiative, which is extremely well designed and allows drivers to get fit and stay fit simply by using their trucks.”

To develop the Your Truck Your Gym programme, a team of Stellenbosch students worked under the guidance of Dr Elbé de Villiers (PhD Sport Science) and project leader Kimberly Smith. The team spent three days experimenting with two truck rigs, and emerged with over 60 different exercises structured specifically to cater to the needs of hard-pressed drivers.

Former Bafana Bafana goal-keeper and Kaizer Chiefs goal-keeper coach, Brian Baloyi, joined the initiative as its ambassador and spent time working with Dylan O’Leary to run through all the exercises. Their demonstration of the full routine has been captured in photographs and video, both of which are accessible via a specially developed free Your Truck Your Gym app.

The app is downloadable at traditional app stores and guides the user through the different exercises using countdowns. A record of each driver’s performance is stored, along with general reports. Your Truck Your Gym awards monthly prizes to the five drivers who show the most progress, while the app allows individual trucking companies to hold internal competitions between drivers. Strong confidentiality features have also been built into the app.

A 100-page book has also been produced by Your Truck Your Gym to cater for drivers without smartphones. The book goes through the various exercises in detail, using photographs. Videos can also be accessed from the book using a smartphone and QR scans.

Ittmann concludes that Your Truck Your Gym is a highly worthwhile project.

“Cartrack is extremely proud to be part of this project – it places a much-needed focus on the health and welfare of drivers in a compelling manner. FleetWatch and the University of Stellenbosch should be commended for their efforts, as should all the sponsors. The drivers will benefit directly, and the programme is also likely to improve general safety standards on South African roads.”