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Call for truckies to take part in online health study

The Driving Health team at Monash University are calling for drivers, allocators, supervisors and line managers to take part in a free online program designed to help make the transport industry healthier and safer for truckies.

The initiative is confidential and only takes 20 minutes to complete and will give participants the opportunity to increase their awareness and understanding of the factors impacting driver health and well-being, as well as identifying the factors they can have influence over.

The main component is a video conversation between an allocator and a truck driver. Click here to get started.

“The content of the conversation is drawn directly from interviews that we’ve had with drivers,” said Monash University Associate Professor Ross Iles, who heads up the program.

“We haven’t come up with artificial situations, rather we’ve used the language drivers have told us to piece together how conversations might take place.”

The team at Driving Health noticed a number of factors that influence drivers’ health. Whether it be workplace factors, factors at home or how drivers have to work around the regulations such as work/rest schedules.

It might sound complex, but Driving Health’s aim is to focus on other parts of the system in supporting the people who support drivers via the Driving Health Allocator Training Program (DHAT). The program targets the managers of drivers, such as allocators or line managers, but increasing the awareness of the managers means it might actually help with their drivers’ mental health.

Driving Health’s Associate Professor Ross IIes.

“It doesn’t mean they need to become a mental health champion. It’s about having a conversation with them and sometimes that can be enough or encouraging them to get checked out if they’re struggling with something,” explains Iles.

Despite the recent push for flexible and adaptive fatigue management options for drivers, there are no current plans to have the studies undertaken by Driving Health presented to transport regulatory decision makers, however Iles believes they could provide for useful data for any future regulatory change.

“We’ve focussed on the ins and outs that affect drivers and obviously legislation comes into that. One of the things that drivers have told us is that they’d like to self-manage their fatigue rather than be put into a situation where they have to rest when they’re alert and drive when they’re sleepy,” said Iles.

“However, the time that it takes to change legislation is outside the scope of what we’re able to do, other than highlighting it’s one of the components that influences driver health.”

Driving Health aims to provide a snapshot of current driver health, so in time a reassessment may take place to see what impact any change in legislation might have had.

The program will be winding up in March 2022 at a communications event to discuss the results of the program, but all of the reports from the project are available from the Driving Health website at www.drivinghealth.net.

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