Work and fatigue among light truck and short haul drivers in NSW
Light commercial vehicles under 12t GVM make up the second largest group of motorised vehicles on
NSW roads behind passenger vehicles. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the people who drive these vehicles or the factors which influence their safety as road users. As a step towards remedying this information gap, a survey of light freight vehicle and short-haul drivers in NSW was undertaken. Drivers were recruited from seven areas in the state from both ancillary and specialist transport operations. Approximately 40% of the 321 respondents were owner drivers and operators and the remainder were employees. Unlike the long distance heavy vehicle drivers in a previous Australian survey (Williamson, Feyer, Friswell & Sadural, 2001), most of the light vehicle and short- haul drivers (94%) in the current survey were daytime workers. Surprisingly, however, they reported driver fatigue to be as much a personal problem as did the long distance heavy vehicle drivers. The
results of the current survey also showed differences between subgroups of light and short-haul drivers in their experiences of driver fatigue and in some characteristics of their work. Sydney-based drivers and owners, for example, were more likely to report fatigue, longer working hours and higher workloads than regional drivers and employees. This paper will explore the relationships between work, fatigue and safety risks for these drivers as well as summarising their views on useful fatigue management initiatives. The survey results suggest that fatigue among light vehicle and short-haul drivers deserves greater attention as a potential road safety issue.