Award for driver’s heroic act

Deon Atkins re­ceives ac­co­lades for sav­ing ac­ci­dent vic­tim’s life

Owner Driver - - The Goods -

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

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