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Common Safety And Well-being Challenges Impacting Australian Truckers



Australia is largely dependent on truck drivers to transport goods and services across our country. In fact, Australia’s truckers keep the wheels of our economy turning. In 2021-22, trucks transported 79.8% of domestic non-bulk freight (Source: Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics)

 

As we mark World Safety Day, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the tireless efforts of our dedicated truck driver community within Australia, shed light on some of the challenges truck drivers face on and off the road and share practical tips to improve their health and safety.

With almost 190,000 truck drivers traversing Australian highways and byways, they form the backbone of Australia's logistical network. In 2022-23, Australia’s domestic freight equated to 241.8 billion tonne kilometres (the number of tonnes moved by a vehicle multiplied by the distance the load travelled in kilometres), a 3% increase since the previous year. From transporting goods across vast distances to delivering essential supplies to remote communities, their role is irreplaceable.


Common challenges faced on the road:

  • Unfortunately, the en route journey isn’t always smooth for our truck drivers. Workplace violence incidents are rampant, with nearly half of drivers reporting at least one incident in the past year, with verbal abuse ranking the highest.

  • The shortage of truck drivers in Australia is another challenge for our drivers. This multifaceted issue is exacerbated by factors such as an aging workforce, employee retention challenges, and a lack of new entrants into the profession. This shortage has been further underscored by the 20,023 vacant positions for truck drivers advertised on Seek online jobs as of late March 2024.

  • Australia's diverse climate presents various weather challenges, from scorching days and intense sunlight to heavy rain and cyclones. Drivers must adapt to changing weather conditions and road surfaces, which can affect visibility and road safety.

  • Routine maintenance can preserve the lifespan of your heavy vehicle and increase its safety. By conducting thorough pre-trip inspections, drivers can identify any mechanical issues and address these maintenance concerns promptly to ensure the vehicle operates safely throughout its journey.


The need to stop and rest:

  • Driver fatigue remains a pervasive issue, with over 60% of drivers experiencing fatigue while working, and one in ten admitting to nodding off or falling asleep while driving. According to DAT (2023),  33% of drivers drive more than 49 hours a week with 63% of truckers indicating that they get an average of 6 hours of sleep or less per night.

  • Adequate rest is crucial for alertness on the road. Ensure you get sufficient sleep before each shift and take regular breaks to combat fatigue. In fact, being awake for more than 17 hours has a similar effect on performance as having a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.05 (Source: Queensland Gov).

  • Truck drivers often spend long periods away from home and their loved ones, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Being away from home has been linked to impacts on mental well-being and is a leading contributor to stress and depression amongst truck drivers.

  • Nutrition and hydration still remains a challenge for truckers. According to DAT (2023), 63% of truckers cook their own meals two to six days a week, and 37% rely on fast-food options for two to three days a week. Maintaining hydration and eating nutritiously is important to sustain energy levels during long hauls.


We believe the routine of 'drive, stop, rest, repeat' isn't just a mantra—it's a lifeline for Australian truckers. By recognising, educating and addressing the challenges our Aussie Truckers face, we can ensure the safety and well-being is prioritised, ultimately keeping our roads safer for everyone.

 

Big Wheels Truck Alignment are your go-to specialists for all of your wheel alignment needs. We’re here to ensure you have a good trucking day.

 

Call us on 1300 655 050 or fill out our contact us form at https://www.bigwheels.net.au/contact.

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