Heavy vehicles make up 8% of the vehicle kilometres travelled on Australia’s  roads, yet they are involved in 18% of all road deaths.[1]

In addition, Australian heavy vehicle operators are three times more likely to complete worker’s compensation claims due to injury or illness compared to other workforce claims (with 70 claims made for every 1,000 workers every year).[2] The rate of work-related injury and disease is even higher among heavy vehicle operators aged 65 years and over. [2] This is of particular concern due to Australia’s rapidly ageing heavy vehicle workforce.[3] The leading types of injury and diseases contributing to claims are musculoskeletal (60%), other traumatic incidents (24%) and fractures (9%).[2]

When factoring in heavy vehicle operators mental health, heavy vehicle operators have a 7% higher chance of developing depression, compared to other Australians.[4] Heavy vehicle operators with moderate depression are twice as likely to have a road crash while driving and 27% more likely to abuse substances. [4] Additionally heavy vehicle operators experience a higher rate of suicide, with data indicating that in Australia from 2001 to 2010, the rate of suicide among male ‘Road and Rail’ drivers was higher than any other occupation. [5]

With a vast and remote road network in WA, heavy vehicle operators are often the first to come across the scene of a road crash and can be involved in an incident in which an individual intended on using their heavy vehicle as a means of self-harm. Being involved in or witnessing a road traffic incident has the potential for long-term mental health consequences for the driver, with Australian research indicating that up to 29% of road traffic crash survivors develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[6]

1. National Transport Commission. Heavy vehicles / Safety. National Transport Commission https://www.ntc.gov.au/heavy-vehicles/safety/ (2018).
2. Monash Insurance Work and Health Group. #1 National Transport and Logistics Industry Health and Wellbeing Study. Work-Related Injury and Disease In Australian Transport Sector Workers. https://900e23b0-9c7a-456c-a659-de325e888021.filesusr.com/ugd/016fda_48ecf3bef3ad4ce0abe751c8a199fbb5.pdf (2018).
3. Monash University Insurance Work and Health Group. Driving Health. Work-Related Injury and Disease In Australian Truck Drivers. https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/1457475/Driving-Health-Report-2.pdf (2018).
4. Transport Workers’ Union. Transport Workers’ Union Safe Rates survey 2017. (2018).
5. Milner, A., Page, K. & LaMontagne, A. Suicide among male road and rail drivers in Australia: a retrospective mortality study. Road and transport research 24, 26–31 (2015).
6. Heron-Delaney, M., Kenardy, J., Charlton, E. & Matsuoka, Y. A systematic review of predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for adult road traffic crash survivors. Injury 44, 1413–1422 (2013).