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Curtin researchers assess heavy vehicle risks in world’s largest study

Media release

Curtin University of Technology researchers will participate in the world’s largest case-control study examining heavy vehicle crashes in Western Australia.

The three-year study will survey truck drivers in WA, New South Wales and Queensland and examine risk factors such as fatigue, sleep apnoea, scheduling, shift length, vehicle configuration and how these affect crashes.

The national research team, comprised of Curtin, the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and Queensland University of Technology, has an Australian Research Council grant to conduct the study.

Dr Lynn Meuleners, of Curtin’s Centre for Population Health Research, is leading the WA research component.

She said the study would provide valuable information about why heavy vehicle crashes occur.

“I hope the research will lead to changes in the industry,” Dr Meuleners said.

“Crashes involving passenger vehicles have declined in the past 15 years but this has not been the case with heavy vehicles, and it’s hoped this study will identify some of the possible reasons behind this.”

The survey will compare characteristics of truck drivers who have been involved in a crash during the period of the survey with others who have not been involved in a crash during the same period.

Dr Meuleners emphasised the importance of truck drivers taking part in the survey.

“The success of the study will be tied to the support of truck drivers, so we want to strongly encourage them to take the time to participate if approached,” Dr Meuleners said.

Curtin will receive funding from Main Roads WA for the local research component and other research partners include the National Transport Commission, the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Queensland Transport, the Roads and Traffic Authority NSW, WA Police, NSW Police, Queensland Police and Diagnose IT.

Truck drivers interested in taking part in the study can contact Dr Lynn Meuleners on (08) 9266 4636 or l.meuleners@curtin.edu.au