After a 3-year absence, the Hino Smart Driving Contest is back. Hosted by Hino Motors Sales (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (HMSM) at its Hino Total Support Customer Centre (HTSCC) in Sendayan, Negri Sembilan, this skills competition is one of its initiatives to promote smart, safe and efficient driving as well as to encourage drivers to apply the skills they have learned and to build camaraderie within the profession.
The 2023 Hino Smart Driving Contest brought together 20 truck drivers from 11 companies who were picked for this final round in Sendayan from the initial preliminary rounds held in August. The HTSCC also includes a test track and is the first such Hino training centre outside of Japan.
“Today’s theme, “Challenge to be the Best Driver to transport every happiness for a sustainable future” resonates with our government’s vision. We aim to reduce road fatalities by half by the year 2030, as outlined in the Road Safety Plan 2022 – 2030. Driver training programmes, such as those offered by Hino Total Support Customer Centre, play an important role in achieving this goal. These courses equip drivers with the necessary skills and knowledge to drive safely and efficiently. With improved skills and awareness, we do hope that drivers understand and start practicing safer driving to protect themselves as well as the other road users,” said YB Anthony Loke, Minister of Transport.
The core objective of the Hino Smart Driving Contest is to assess and improve driving skills, especially those who primarily drive Hino trucks. “This competition is a remarkable opportunity for drivers to showcase their skills and be motivated to strive for excellence. It not only recognises the drivers but also boosts the company’s image,” said Atsushi Uchiyama, Managing Director of HMSM.
“Through this competition, we aim to elevate our brand image and enhance the productivity for our customers’ drivers. We want them to take pride in being valued Hino customers and drivers,” he added. With a presence spanning over 40 years in Malaysia, Hino is committed to enhancing the owner and user experience. It had recently launched an extended warranty programme for the Hino 300 Series truck, upgrading it from 3 years and 100,000 km, to 5 years and 200,000 km to give customers better value and support.
The evaluation of the drivers during the competition involves their practical driving skills, familiarisation of daily vehicle inspection routines, as well as fuel efficiency.
In the driving skills segment, the drivers have to go through a series of 7 different courses to test a wide range of skills. This includes negotiating an “S” junction, garage parking, crank course, parallel parking, turn-back course, uphill / downhill driving, as well as emergency braking on a wet road. Meanwhile, the daily vehicle inspection segment requires all participants to complete a thorough truck inspection covering the engine, brakes, clutch, fluids, electricals, tyres, and visibility. Fuel-efficient driving is also an important component for a smart driver as this ultimately helps them and the company.
The overall champion of the Hino Smart Driving Contest will be awarded a trophy and RM5,000 cash. The champion’s company will also receive a RM5,000 service and parts voucher and a Champion’s Cup. All in, this competition is giving out RM22,000 worth of prizes.
The HTSCC facility is available to all Hino customers who want assistance in driver training as this is one of Hino’s aftersales support initiatives. HMSM puts a lot of emphasis on regular training and equipping Hino customers with the latest product knowledge, safety practices and optimum vehicle operations to enhance efficiency. Hino also has plans to open its training centre to use by government and public agencies, including having courses covered by the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF).