Driver health initiative launched in WA

Mental and physical wellbeing the focus of heavy vehicle information MaPS on our Roads program

Driver health initiative launched in WA
Sandy Lukjanowski, left, with federal MP Celia Hammond at the launch


A significant industry mental and physical health initiative has kicked off in Western Australia.

With the backing of safety organisation Injury Matters and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), Mental and Physical Safety on our Roads (MaPS on our Roads) program is now launched at the 24th Transafe WA Road Transport Industry Safety Forum.

This program aims to support heavy vehicle operators maintain mental and physical wellbeing in their work.

It is pointed out that, In WA, 207 people were killed in 185 crashes involving heavy vehicles between 2008 and 2016.

With a vast and remote road network in WA, truck drivers are often the first on the scene of a road crash and may have to provide critical first aid assistance.

"This program will provide information and education to assist heavy vehicle operators in how they manage the impact a road crash may have on them after the scene is cleared," Injury Matters chief executive Sandy Lukjanowski says

"Given the distances travelled on our expansive road network in WA, coupled with an aging workforce, addressing the physical safety and mental health among heavy vehicle operators is vital to help keep this industry safe on our roads."

The first MaPS on our Roads campaign, Your MaP to Recovery: After a Road Crash focuses on the importance of staying mentally and physically well on the road, looking after themselves and others after a road crash, and the supports available to help.

"Heavy vehicle safety is a responsibility for all road users, and through local safety programs we can make our roads safer for everyone."

The project is funded as part of the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI).

"The HVSI provides funding to implementable, value-for-money projects that focus on improving road safety," NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says.

"Life on the road can be very tough on the mental and physical health of drivers and focusing on what we can do to support better health outcomes is a key priority for the NHVR.

"Healthy drivers are safer drivers. Projects like MaPS that address the specific health challenges faced by drivers are critical to improving the overall wellbeing of our industry."

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 Between 2019-20, Injury Matters conducted group consultations, in-depth interviews, and a heavy vehicle operator survey with those working within the heavy vehicle industry to form this campaign.

These consultations confirmed that heavy vehicle operators are often the first to come across the scene of a road crash.

"Heavy vehicle operators are exposed to road crashes more than most, and it is important that the industry itself supports mateship, encouraging those working to check in on their mates if they have been involved in a crash," Lukjanowski says

"Support is available, and we understand everyone’s experience is personal to them. We encourage everyone to use healthy coping strategies, recognise when they may need some additional support and to reach out if in need of support."

Project resources and information can be found here.


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