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In the Logistics Africa division new vehicles are
equipped with safety features including on-board
cameras. Vehicles travel 24/7 with headlights

Road safety is a key priority for the Imperial group, as it is concerned with all aspects of the mobility offering. Leadership in this sector implies leadership on road safety issues, especially in the South African context where road accident rates and pedestrian fatalities are high.

In response to this challenge, Imperial has developed the I-Pledge campaign, which acknowledges that the group needs to address the issue of road safety from a societal and behavioural perspective.


All of the Imperial businesses undertake safety programmes in some form. The issue is particularly material for the logistics and car rental businesses, and safety is a major focus in the South African logistics operations due to the scale of the business and the risks inherent in the nature of the division’s operations.

The Logistics Africa division has almost 20 000 employees and close to 6 000 vehicles on the road, of which 450 are Light Duty Vehicles (LDVs). Just less than half a billion kilometres are travelled by the division each year. In its warehouse operations, the division manages, owns or leases 120 warehouses, a total of just over 1 000 000m2 in warehousing capacity. The nature and scale of these operations presents risks, as well as the fact that the division’s vehicles travel some of the most hazardous road systems in the world.

Safety is addressed through various interventions, including:

> The ongoing training of drivers
> Adherence to legal and industry safety standards and requirements
> In-house, as well as external auditing of warehouse facilities
> Awareness, including through risk committee meetings
> Driver wellness

The division is an active participant in the I-Pledge programme. It has implemented a ‘lights-on’ project, where Imperial drivers undertake to drive with headlights continuously on, as well as speed management programmes, including remote monitoring. One of the biggest challenges faced by the division, however, relates to the behaviour of other road users, both vehicle users and pedestrians.

Driver road safety awareness is continually strengthened through programmes such as poster campaigns on all trucks and warehouses and toolbox talks. Driver training programmes have been strengthened and in October 2013 a ‘call-to-action’ event was held in KwaZulu-Natal to instil road safety principles. Vehicle safety options include ABS (antilock braking systems), EBS (stability control), in-cab cameras, lane assist, proximity control and seat belt alarms. Vehicles are regularly maintained and monitored, and regular roadworthiness tests are conducted.

Consideration is also given to driving hours and driver focus and attention, which are critical safety aspects. Monitoring and control of these areas have been intensified and a fatigue measurement pilot is underway.

Disciplinary action is taken where necessary, including in cases of unauthorised activities or unsafe behaviour, such as the failure to wear seat belts and the use of cruise control in urban areas.

Employee training and re-training is undertaken on a continuous basis. The division currently employs 40 full-time driver trainers who are qualified driver assessors.

Employee selection criteria have also been reviewed and improved. Professional Driving Permit (PDP) screening is mandatory to ensure that drivers holding illegally-obtained licenses are excluded.

Where incidents do occur, they are reported and investigated according to a comprehensive event investigation protocol. Accident investigation courses were introduced to a broader audience during 2014, with 50 employees in South Africa having received training in accident investigation so far in the division. When a fatality is reported, an independent managing director from another logistics business within Imperial reviews the accident and gives an independent analysis. In the case of a fatality, these reports are sent to the group CEO within 24 hours and reviewed by the group social, ethics and sustainability committee and the main board. A third-party specialist accident re-creator makes their own assessment and a post-assessment debriefing takes place focusing on the causes and the accident and the lessons to be learned from it.

Wellness is intrinsically related to driver safety, and employees have access to 22 external clinics co-funded by the division. One of the largest of these clinics, at the Tugela Truck Stop, receives some 3 500 patients per annum. The division also operates three in-house clinics which receive over 2 000 employee drivers per annum.

Areas of concern in relation to driver wellness are blood pressure, vision, diabetes and hearing. HIV testing is provided and nutritional awareness is offered as part of the wellness programmes in place. The division is currently investigating the provision of nutritional awareness programmes in depots.

In Logistics International, this issue is also material, although the geographical context in which the division operates poses a lower risk than in the group’s southern African operations.

In the Vehicles businesses, safety issues relate primarily to workshops where employees are exposed to potential safety hazards.

In the Vehicle Import, Distribution and Dealerships division, dealerships are audited for safety on a regular basis and each dealership is given a percentage score indicating compliance with audit requirements.

The division’s objective is to achieve a 90% compliance rating in 2015, from average levels of 79% currently. A health and safety officer has been appointed to assist in achieving this goal.

In the Car Rental business, safety issues are material in three aspects of operations:

> Product safety – ensuring only safe vehicles are available for rental
> Creating a safe work environment for employees
> Road safety – for employees, clients and communities

The quality of service is measured by client feedback through internationally-benchmarked surveys.


PRODUCT SAFETY CENTRE Employees follow a strict 34-step quality and safety checklist on each vehicle pre-rental and post-rental, ensuring vehicles are in a safe condition and adhere to all safety requirements. ISO accreditation has been undertaken on all of the division’s quality and client service processes
SAFE WORK ENVIRONMENT Internal safety audits, training and briefing sessions for all employees. External safety auditing and accreditation of head office and all major depots, airports and branches
ROAD SAFETY AWARENESS FOR EMPLOYEES AND CLIENTS Safe driving messaging in rental vehicles

Creating a safe work environment for employees


A scholar on patrol. To date the campaign has trained almost a quarter of a million learners in South Africa on road safety  

As a business whose core focus lies within the transport and logistics arena, it is critical that Imperial supports the drive towards ensuring responsible and safe road usage by motorists and pedestrians within the South African environment.

Based on this premise, Imperial developed I-Pledge in 2011 as a platform for activation of a number of road safety initiatives. Although the initiative has run for only three years, headway has been made in positively changing the attitudes of citizens, particularly in South Africa, around safe road usage.


According to a World Bank report, South Africa has one of the highest road fatality rates in Africa, with 32 deaths per 100 000 people each year.

Research and commentary around road safety statistics identify general disregard for road rules and a lack of education on safety precautions and responsible road usage as the major contributors to accidents. For example, it was found that more than 570 children in South Africa are killed in pedestrian accidents each year because a motorist did not see them. Another 250 die because an adult did not strap the child in when travelling in their cars.

As a leading transport and logistics company in South Africa, we believed that we needed to become active in road safety campaigning, which led to the development of the Imperial I-Pledge road safety programmes.

An I-Pledge safety briefing in progress


The campaigns developed through the Imperial I-Pledge platform ensure that we make a tangible difference to road safety, as we outline below.


We believe that tackling the problem at a grassroots level is a solid start to increasing road safety education, by empowering young people to become change agents. As a result, we developed the Scholar Patrol Improvement project which aims to reinstate scholar patrols in schools. Through this simple action, we aim to educate teachers and scholars around the basics of road safety

The project started in October 2012 and aims to reach 20 schools a month. By the end of the 2014 financial year, we had been successful in reinstating scholar patrols in 400 schools in Gauteng, the Western and Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State.


We identified a strong need to increase education not only about strapping a child in when travelling, but also ensuring that they are strapped in correctly. Following a successful outreach in 2012 with 94.7, a radio station in Gauteng in South Africa, Imperial I-Pledge again partnered during the financial year with the station to undertake an education campaign for all parents to highlight the importance of following best practice.

Leading up to and during Transport Month in October 2013, Imperial I-Pledge and 94.7, drove awareness around strapping children in, and took this a step further by issuing a call-to-action to all parents in Johannesburg to donate their used car seats to a less privileged child.

The campaign culminated in a mock roadblock in Germiston, in the East of Johannesburg in October 2013, with the aim of creating awareness around child safety. Metro Police officers pulled over parents and caregivers who did not have children strapped into a car seat or motorists whose children were not using seat belts. Experts were on hand to provide advice to parents about the importance of child safety.


I-Pledge is constantly looking for ways to ensure that we make South African roads safer for everyone and that we contribute towards increasing support for other organisations who share the same philosophy.

The N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) and the N1/ N4 Bakwena toll routes in South Africa have previously been recorded as those which have high volumes of traffic during the busy holiday periods including April and December. As a result, in December 2013 and April 2014 – for the third consecutive year – I-Pledge partnered with the relevant toll concessionaires to increase patrol support on these routes over the holiday periods and to create stronger law enforcement visibility.

Ten patrol vehicles were supplied to the N3 toll concessionaire and two vehicles to the N1/N4 Bakwena toll concessionaire to increase and boost route surveillance, patrol support and post-accident care activities during the busy holiday seasons.

In addition, for the December period 2013, the N3 toll concessionaire, together with Community Medical Services (a group of volunteer paramedics) and Angels in Motion (volunteer counsellors in Ladysmith), supported victims of accidents. In the course of this initiative three vehicles supplied by Europcar, part of the Imperial group, were used as a support unit operating in the Van Reenen’s Pass, a high risk area on the N3 between Johannesburg and Durban.


SCHOLAR PATROL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME The main aim of this project is to educate young people around proper road usage as pedestrians. We aim to change their mindset around best practice on the roads and to give them more insight – in a fun way – about how they can use roads more safely

This work can ultimately save lives, but through the programme we also aim to demonstrate our commitment to educating the communities in which we operate, to increase awareness of road safety issues and to empower people to become change agents
To date this campaign has trained almost a quarter of a million learners on road safety, including 2 660 learners who received specific instruction in handling patrols, and 1 140 teachers from more than 30 different communities in the main regions in South Africa

As a result of the programme, nine kilometres of zebra crossings have been painted and over the past year our reach has expanded from Gauteng to the Western and Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and the Free State
CAR SEATS FOR KIDS CAMPAIGN The aim of the Car Seats for Kids campaign was to create stronger awareness around the importance of strapping children in when travelling in the car and to drive a stronger understanding of the correct way in which this should be done

In addition, a key objective was to collect as many car seats as possible – through donations – so that these can be restored, safety checked and supplied to less privileged families
Our target was to collect 1 500 seats and at the end of the campaign we managed to collect just over 2 500, through donations from the greater Gauteng community, as well as through a number of corporate donations including from Imperial businesses such as Europcar, Imperial Select and Midas
TOLL ROUTE CONCESSIONAIRE PROJECT This project aimed to assist Road Incident Management Services in attending to – and reporting on – incidents along the N3, N1 and N4 routes during the busy holiday seasons. Additionally, vehicles were on hand to help motorists requiring roadside assistance, including with fuel, tyre changes and breakdown support The Toll Route Concessionaire support project was highly successful over the most recent holiday period (April 2014), providing assistance to 12 vehicles that broke down and attending to four separate accidents through the provision of vital post-accident care on the N1. The presence of additional law enforcement vehicles resulted in a reduction of fatal accidents on the N4 to seven from nine in 2013, and to 56 on the N3, compared to 75 in 2013

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