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Accid Anal Prev. 2009 May;41(3):453-61. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2009.01.012. Epub 2009 Feb 15.

The impact of mental health symptoms on heavy goods vehicle drivers' performance.

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School of Population Health, the University of Queensland, Herston, QLD, 4006, Australia.


High levels of psychological distress in fulltime employees are prevalent (4.5% per month). Symptoms of impaired mental health include difficulties with attention, concentration, motivation, decision-making, visuo-motor control, and psychomotor reaction times. There is limited research on the impact these symptoms have on heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers' performance. In this study 1324 HGV drivers were surveyed using the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS) and the Health and Performance at Work Questionnaire (HPQ). Depression, anxiety and stress had little effect on driver absenteeism rates or self-rated driving performance. However, severe (1.5% of drivers) and very severe (1.8% of drivers) depression was associated with an increased odds ratio (OR=4.5 and 5.0, respectively) for being involved in an accident or near miss in the past 28 days. This odd ratio is akin to driving with a blood alcohol content of about 0.08%. Given the number of HGV vehicles and the prevalence of depression this equates to 10,950 HGV drivers with an increased statistical risk of an accident or near miss. As the impact of HGV accidents is potentially large, including loss of life, it would be sensible to extend the research findings here into an action plan.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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