'World's largest study' on truck crashes gets go-ahead

National research team awarded grant to conduct the 'world's largest case-control study' on heavy vehicle crashes

A national research team has been awarded a grant to conduct what it is being labelled the ‘world’s largest case-control study’ on heavy vehicle crashes.

The three-year study involving four universities will survey truck drivers in Western Australia, NSW and Queensland on fatigue, sleep apnoea, scheduling, shift length, vehicle configuration and how these affect crashes.

The national study team will also include researchers from the University of NSW and the Queensland University of Technology

The study team is made up of researchers from Curtin University, the Queensland University of Technology, the University of NSW and the University of Sydney.

The survey will compare characteristics of truck drivers who have been involved in a crash during the period of the survey with others who have not been involved in a crash during the same period.

Dr Lynn Meuleners from Curtin’s Centre for Population Health Research says the study will help find out why heavy vehicle crashes occur and hopes research will lead to changes in the industry.

"Crashes involving passenger vehicles have declined in the past 15 years but this has not been the case with heavy vehicles, and it’s hoped this study will identify some of the possible reasons behind this," Meuleners says.

Truck drivers are being encouraged to take part in the survey, with Meuleners saying the success of the study will depend on participation numbers.

A number of government departments are funding the study, including Main Roads WA, the National Transport Commission, the Roads and Traffic Authority and Queensland Transport.

The NSW, Western Australian and Queensland police departments are also funding the study with financial support also coming from the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government and Diagnose IT.

Truck drivers interested in taking part in the study can contact Meuleners via email or by calling 08 9266 4636.

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