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Poor mental health takes toll on drivers

09 June 2021

VENSON AUTOMOTIVE Solutions is urging businesses to back the charity IAM RoadSmart as it calls for urgent changes to be made to support working drivers in its new report ‘Driving for Work’.

Now more than ever, solutions such as driver training, policies, advice and procedures should be implemented as increasing numbers of occupational drivers return to the UK’s roads.

Poor mental health can affect concentration levels as well as reduce reaction times, and disturbed sleep, due to anxiety and depression, can lead to driving while tired – both of which are major contributors to road accidents. With a third of road deaths and a fifth of serious injuries sustained in accidents involving a working driver or rider, and with 39% of pedestrians killed after being hit by someone who was driving as part of their job1, the importance of driver wellbeing plays a crucial part in road safety. 

And according to the 'Driving for Work’ report, it is not just fatigue and mental health that suffer but also the physical wellbeing of drivers too. Stress can have physical side-effects and with some drivers working longer and demanding hours it is important the businesses communicate effectively with employees to ensure the signs of poor physical health are not missed.

Simon Staton, client management director at Venson Automotive Solutions commented, “As lone and remote workers, drivers can often be ‘out of sight, out of mind’. It is important therefore that businesses have processes in place to ensure that driver well-being is at the top of their health and safety agenda.”

With IAM RoadSmart calling for further changes to happen through increased prosecution of liable companies, Venson believes businesses need to take action now. This includes reviewing the resources available to drivers, such as motorway services and roadside facilities, as many drivers are deterred from stopping for essential rest due to prices.

Continues Simon Staton, “With the stress and uncertainty of the last year, many more employees are feeling the strain and businesses need to ensure that employees are supported. Driver well-being, or the lack of it, has a direct impact on how well a business performs and as we take on a world that will be forever changed due to the pandemic, fleets can play a huge part in the ongoing success of their organisation and ensuring a supported and productive workforce.”

Venson’s free whitepaper ‘It is good to talk: Caring about Mental Health’ guides businesses and fleet managers on how to promote good mental health at work practices and offers practical help and advice. It can be downloaded at https://www.venson.com/Media/ViewWhitePaper/32