22nd March 2020 Monash Driving Health.

Goodaye all. I drove out to Warren late Sunday, unloaded there early, back into Dubbo for some tyres then off to load at Manildra, (had a discussion about load restraint curtains and why we have them) nearly making it into Melbourne. Seven hour break, then a drop out to the new WW DC at Lyndhurst (and the truck GPS said it did not exist so have passed this on to them along with a short list of other indiscretions), back into Melbourne to deliver the balance of the load, drop trailers and drop truck off for a new steering box. Had a leak at the bottom seal, so had to be fixed and seemed to be affecting steer tyre wear.

Plan to have it back by lunchtime the next day, so having seen a Facebook comment on the “Driving Health” study being done by Monash University, sent an email and then arranged an interview for the next morning. A three part study, looking initially at insurance claims to confirm what we all know, truck driving can be hazardous to your health, pity we could not educate others and reduce this substantially. Off my soapbox now. Then interviewing drivers, family and employers to get the detail and background to how the job affects us, then lastly, looking to:
“Our objective is to develop interventions that, upon completion of the study, can be implemented by employers, regulators, drivers and others in the sector.”

So did my hour plus interview, was told I had raised some things not yet raised by others and hope to see some value down the track to help us all. I did give it a plug on “Nightshift” and am doing the same here. You can go to med-IWHGroup@monash.edu or (03) 9903 0444. Driving Health Study.

We all know truckies don’t get to the doctor and how hard it is to get anywhere near them in a truck when working, let alone a chemist or any other real help, so I would encourage any of you who either, have had a problem that was difficult to solve because o the job, or who know of others who have suffered, but may be able to offer an insight. It is hard on our families, we are never there, it can lead to isolation and in some depression and who do you turn to?

If you have a really good mate, they might be able to help and since we lost TRANSHELP, where or who to you go to now, to talk to someone with any industry understanding? There is Lifeline and Beyond Blue and they help many, but perhaps the fact that unless those we talk to have some job empathy, can they help as much as needed. We are getting into deep territory here and I am no expert, but I know of drivers who have had others commit suicide into their trucks, who have come on or been involved with a road crash where someone died and none of us go to work to be involved, directly or otherwise, but once there, you can’t just walk away and forget about it.

Have you needed help and got it from your local doctor, your boss or a friend? But if not, have you suffered in silence to the point it has affected your life and or that of your family. It is something rarely discussed and this study and your contribution may help another driver in the long term, more than you will ever know. Please give it some thought and participate if you can.

Back to trucks. Got the truck back later than planned, so late for the wheel alignment, but delivered truck and trailers and got them back after lunch the next day. Drives were both out, cambered the steer and will see how that goes. Off back to Melbourne this afternoon with a load of wool for a change and loading out some chemical and highly secret stuff made of paper and in high demand at the moment. Don’t want to get hijacked, so Mums’ the word. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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