Improving the health of Australian truck drivers project
Driving Health is a national transport sector research study to understand and improve the health and wellbeing of drivers.
The Driving Health project is completed (2022).
The nationwide research revealed a health crisis facing the transport sector. Key findings from the online survey of almost 1400 truck drivers and telephone survey of 332 drivers include:
- 1 in 5 drivers under 35 years report severe levels of psychological distress, compared to 1 in 9 Australian men the same age
- Almost a third of drivers had three or more diagnosed medical conditions, which is four times greater than the average for Australians
- The most common medical conditions for drivers are back problems, high blood pressure, and mental health problems
- Over half of drivers are categorised as obese
- Nearly half of drivers reported at least one workplace violence incident over the previous 12 months, with verbal abuse being the most common
- Over 60% of drivers report experiencing fatigue whilst working and one in ten admitted nodding off or falling asleep while driving in the previous year
In response to the need for supporting driver health and wellbeing, Monash University developed the Driving Health Allocator Training program, a free, online educational resource for direct mangers to increase their awareness about the factors they can control to improve the health and wellbeing of truck drivers in their company.
For more information about the project visit the Driving Health website
The aim of this research project is to undertake the largest survey of Australian drivers to identify the factors important to both good and poor health.
Truck driving is the number one employer of Australian males, however driving for a living poses many health threats. For example:
- truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die at work than other workers
- crashes alone account for 17 per cent of the burden of disability due to illness and injury
- musculoskeletal injuries account for 76,000 lost weeks of work every year.
Research to date has focused almost exclusively on driver safety. The study will enable the identification and delivery of evidence-based interventions that can be implemented by employers, regulators, drivers and others in the sector to improve mental and physical health across the industry.
This project is a collaboration between researchers, employers, unions, and government. Comcare is contributing to the project in line with our purpose to promote and enable safe and healthy work and as part of our commitment to driving better practice across the scheme.
Comcare is supporting the following project partners:
- Monash University
- NSW Centre for Work Health Safety
- Transport Workers Union.
Findings and reports
- Driving Health project reports
Report 1: Work-related injury and disease in Australian transport sector workers
Report 2: Profile of work-related injury and disease in truck drivers
Report 3: Health care use in truck drivers
Report 4: Use of medications following work-related injury and illness in truck drivers
Report 5: Analysis of life insurance claims data
Report 6: Survey of the physical and mental health of Australian professional drivers
Report 7: Uneven wear: health & wellbeing of professional truck drivers
Report 8: Determinants Impacting Health and Performance of Truck Drivers
Report 9: Direct managers influencing truck driver health
- Driving Health findings – infographic (PDF, 158.5 KB)
The Driving Health study has revealed high levels of obesity, chronic pain and psychological distress amongst Australian truck drivers. Employers are encouraged to promote worker access to health & wellbeing resources.
- Pain Australia – Managing chronic pain
- Beyond Blue – Chronic physical illness, anxiety and depression
- Sport Australia – Physical activity
- MindSpot – Mental health assessment
- Eatforhealth.gov.au – Australian dietary guidelines
- Black Dog Institute – Self-care planning
- Healthy Heads in Trucks & Sheds
- Health In Gear
- Monash Driving Health Resource Kit for Truck Drivers
- Monash Driving Health Resource Kit for Managers
For more information on this research project or to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.