Award for driver’s heroic act
Deon Atkins receives accolades for saving accident victim’s life
A COFFS HARBOUR driver has been awarded the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian Award, after saving a woman’s life in January.
North Coast Towing driver Deon Atkins was presented with the coveted award at the National Trucking Industry Awards Dinner in Canberra in April.
Atkins was driving on the Pacific Highway on January 17, when he saw an accident in the distance. After arriving at the scene, he found the woman slumped across her steering wheel and he immediately began performing first-aid.
“I jumped out of my truck, opened her airway and kept her breathing until the ambulance arrived. I did what anyone with my training as an ex-fire fighter and first aider would do,” Atkins explains. “I reached in through the driver’s window, which was smashed, and supporting her head and neck, lifted her up into her seat so I could get the airway open.”
NSW Ambulance acting inspector Jacinta Young, the responding paramedic on the day, says Atkins’ swift action prevented the accident from resulting in a fatality.
“The actions of [Deon Atkins] saved her life. By simply opening up her airway and maintaining her head in the neutral position, we have no doubt he saved her life,” Young says.
Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand MD Andrew Moffatt says he is continually amazed by the selfless efforts of the trucking community.
“Bridgestone takes great delight in presenting the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian Award in recognition of those who go well beyond the call of duty. It is astounding the lengths that these truck drivers go to driven by their instincts,” Moffatt says. “Deon Atkins is another stand out of the trucking fraternity who doesn’t see himself as a hero, but has prevented the loss of a life through his quick thinking and direct actions.”
ATA chair Geoff Crouch extended his congratulations to Deon, applauding both the heroic driver and North Coast Towing for demonstrating a safety-first focus.
“Truck drivers like Deon Atkins and companies like North Coast Towing are a reminder of the benefit of having effective training and safety procedures in place,” Crouch says. “North Coast Towing and Deon prove that all trucking companies, from small operators through to major fleets have a role to play in road safety.”
North Coast Towing owner Scott Waites says Atkins, who has been with the company since 2016, is a model employee with a spotless driving record.
“Deon is a dedicated and reliable worker who often puts others before himself,” Waites says.
Deon Atkins (left) receives the ATA Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian Award from Bridgestone Tyres national commercial manager Geoff May