According to a 2008 study almost 13% of truck drivers exhibit some degree of depression, almost all (91%) receive no treatment.
According to the study the only common factor between those drivers exhibiting clinical signs of depression, apart from the fact they drove a truck, was that they were mostly aged between 18 and 44 which covers the vast majority of us. Marriage was a significant contributor but don’t think you can just ditch the beloved to get happy, divorce made it even worse. With two divorces and a long term relationship up my my sleeve I’m looking forward to turning 45 lest I end up a jibbering wreck under the clutch pedal!
A quarter of the survey participant were gauged as susceptible to harmful or hazardous drinking and a similar number were in need of advice or information, sorry guys, not a service offered at the local inspection bay.
Whilst these figures aren’t in themselves overly surprising and in fact the rate of depression is slightly lower than the workplace average those 13% of drivers suffering from moderate depression or worse are statistically twice as likely to have an accident or near miss. The 2% of drivers who are severely depressed are a whopping six times more likely to have an accident.
According to the research the average NSW truck driver works 62 hours a week, with long haul drivers averaging even more. No surprises there. Sixty-five percent of drivers work in excess of 60 hours a week and 6.5% reckon they work more than 100 hours a week. This of course makes me wonder about the other 35% who are getting all the cream if the average is only 62 hours.
The research paper goes on in great detail about contributing factors like drug use and other lifestyle decisions and makes for an interesting read even if you only get as far as the summary chapter.
If you want to have a look it here… http://www.nswtwu.org/health_report.pdf
At the conclusion of the research all the drivers showing signs of depression were offered assistance but the majority declined the offer. Only 11 accepted and they all reported it to be beneficial. If only more funding was available for organisations like Beyond Blue, who knows, you and I might benefit… How about supporting the Diary of a Truck Driver Movember Challenge… http://mobro.co/DoaTD