Driver engagement could be key in improving mental health and wellbeing, says Rosie Sharp, behavioural sciences researcher at TRL.
Providing driver feedback on break points and at the beginning or end of a shift, could help improve a driver’s mental health, Sharp said in her seminar on ‘Mental health and wellbeing: looking after your drivers’, at this year’s Virtual Fleet And Mobility Live.
People who drive for work of all ages are likely to suffer with poor mental health due to unpredictable journey times, traffic congestion, tight deadlines, a high workload, and lack of social interaction.
Sharp said technology could also be used across an organisation to enable monitoring and tracking feedback from drivers who may be suffering from mental health and wellbeing issues.
She said: “It’s a challenge to support drivers whilst they’re on the road and completing the driving task. But apps and technologies can be used to keep in touch with people while they are driving.
“You don’t want to distract the drivers but there are things out there that can be used to have a one-way conversation with the driver, without them having to concentrate on having a discussion.”
Damien Penney, vice president of Lytx, also highlighted the importance of providing driver feedback during a live Q&A with Sharp, at the conference.
He said: “You need to be able to give feedback to drivers, there’s no doubt about it. You can give feedback at the end of the shift, or when they stop for a break, just to keep reminding them that they’re part of an organisation that cares about what they’re doing on the road, rather than them going out on their own for eight hours a day.
“There are solutions out there, when drivers do stop and are safe, that can engage them with thinking about doing things differently and their behaviour on the road.”
Sharp said providing advice to drivers on how to keep healthy and how to maintain good wellbeing, is something that could be provided as part of an induction pack or annual or bi-annual training.
She said: “Advice doesn't have to be about mental health. We know that other things regarding physical health can affect mental health and wellbeing.
“It’s really important to give a holistic picture and holistic advice to drivers about what steps they could be taking to manage their wellbeing.”
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