A survey by supply chain consultant, TMX Global claims, not unexpectedly, that women driving heavy vehicles on Australian roads do not stop at rest areas if they don’t feel safe.

In a press release issued today via a PR consultancy, TMX Global claims that  female drivers surveyed for the study said poor lighting, unenclosed shower facilities, a lack of security, and the risk of vandalism to vehicles prevents them from stopping at or using existing rest stops.

The release says that women make up only three per cent of heavy vehicle drivers and that survey respondents said these conditions must improve if the industry wants to employ and retain more women.

Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds (HHTS), a not-for-profit driver health organisation, which aims to improve the wellbeing of national transport, warehousing, and logistics workers, commissioned TMX Global to evaluate heavy vehicle rest areas across Australia.

According to the press release, the study, which included surveying men and women drivers, a literature review, industry consultation, crash data analysis, and route analysis, found there are not enough fit-for-purpose rest areas for heavy vehicle drivers, which is impacting driver safety and mental and physical health.

The statement reveals that most of the  respondents to the survey said they stop at rest areas due to fatigue and to use the toilets and  the statement hints out the well known fact that fatigue and distraction / inattention are the two leading causes of heavy vehicle accidents in Australia.

Commenting on the findings, a HHTS spokesperson said it’s critical that heavy vehicles drivers are as mentally healthy as they can be so that they can maintain concentration and deal with the stresses of the road.

“To achieve this, it is critical that we provide the support they need while on the road: suitable rest areas are an important part of this support,” the spokesperson said.

TMX Global associate director James Sheerin said that how a rest area is designed influences not only whether a driver gets the rest they need, but whether they stop at all.

“Without adequate space for turning and bitumen for parking, or well-lit, clean, and comfortable facilities, we know drivers are discouraged from using the rest stop,” Sherrin said.

“Improving this infrastructure for heavy vehicle drivers across the country will reduce the number of accidents on the road every year,” he added.

Some of the report’s recommendations included the establishment of a National Heavy Vehicle Rest Area Strategy, ongoing consultation of an industry ‘action group’, adding clean toilets and adequate parking to current minimum design standards for Heavy Vehicle rest areas and the design and implementation of a Heavy Vehicle Rest Area pilot stop.

According to the report road freight within Australia is anticipated to grow by about 56 per cent by 2040, .

TMX Global is a supply chain consultant, partnering with clients worldwide to optimise supply chains, and transform businesses.