Driving conditions: Productivity on the road

  • 16 February 2023
  • 14:00-16:00
  • Jennings Council Chamber, Hazelrigg Building

This event will showcase the innovative ‘SHIFT programme’, outlining its content and approach, along with the team’s ongoing work to translate this into a driver Certificate of Professional Competence training module, which will be accessible to all UK HGV drivers.

In the UK, 75% of goods are delivered by road freight, the sector contributes >£13 billion to the economy and employs ~300,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and ~290,000 van drivers. The importance of commercial drivers to UK supply chains has been highlighted recently by well publicised driver shortages. Difficultly in recruiting and retaining drivers underlines this crisis, which in-part has been fuelled by the occupational challenges and demands faced by this group.

Commercial drivers, particularly long-distance HGV drivers, are faced with many barriers when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle. Their working environment means they spend long periods of time sitting, have limited opportunities to be active, are regularly exposed to unhealthy food choices, and working long and unsociable hours tends to mean they get insufficient amounts of sleep. As a consequence of working conditions and unhealthy lifestyle choices, HGV drivers exhibit higher levels of overweight and obesity than those working in other occupations. The vast majority of HGV drivers also show short sleep durations, and struggle with irregular sleep schedules and poor sleep quality. This increases their risk of daytime sleepiness and fatigue, along with diseases linked to obesity, including heart disease, diabetes, and accident risk. Despite their key role in our society, commercial drivers have been identified as an 'at-risk' and underserved group in terms of health promotion efforts.

To target the health inequalities seen in commercial drivers, we have created the ‘Structured Health Intervention For Truckers’ (SHIFT), a health promotion programme tailored for drivers, which is designed to promote physical activity and positive lifestyle changes. This programme has been shown to be effective in increasing drivers’ physical activity levels, reducing their daily sitting time, and reducing weight in those most at risk.

As well as showcasing the ‘SHIFT programme’, the event will also highlight the team’s novel driver sleep management app, Sleepful Drive, designed in collaboration with commercial drivers and key industry stakeholders, to support improvements in drivers’ sleep. Together, these innovative solutions targeting key health behaviours across the 24-hour spectrum of commercial drivers will lead to long-term improvements in drivers’ health, benefiting the individual, employers (through reductions in sickness absence and staff turnover), and the public through improvements in road safety.

Main speaker:

Professor Stacy Clemes, Professor of Active Living and Public Health, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University

Other speakers:

Dr Iuliana Hartescu, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University

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