Truckies stop to help drivers fight fatigue

In News2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 18, 2023

The annual Truck Fatigue stop is back this month on 23 August.

Truck drivers on SH5 are invited to pull in, have a break, enjoy the free barbecue, sip a coffee, and get an optional quick health check.

Tony Hansard of McLeod Cranes and Transport’s said truck drivers can cover huge distances in one shift.

“A truckie could easily do 300km to 400km per day, on average. When you have the guys doing the Taupō to Auckland route, or Taupō to Wellington route, that could be more than 900km in one night,” he said.

“It’s high concentration work – you’ve got literally tonnes of weight behind you, it’s a lot of responsibility. You’re looking after the truck, yourself, and others on the road.”

Hansard said Taupō District’s central location means there are large numbers of trucks on the road in the district at all times, and car drivers should be prepared for this.

“Everything we get in [Taupō] is delivered by truck. Add to that the large forestry areas, and there are always trucks around.”

Driver fatigue affects all drivers and is caused by lack of rest, poor nutrition and hydration, and trying to cover long distances without stopping.

Hato Hone St John lakes watch operations manager Christina Keir said combating fatigue is simple.

“Stay fresh when you drive. Do that by resting, being well fuelled and hydrated. If you’ve got passengers, don’t let them sleep. Part of their job is keeping the driver awake, chatting and helping with navigating if they can.”

Tony Hansard adds his hot tip: “Drink heaps of water – it means you’ll need more toilet stops, which means you take more breaks.”

Every year, Taupō District Council runs the truck fatigue stop and other driver fatigue stops to educate drivers about fatigue and put it into practice with a chance to take a break, stretch, eat and have some coffee.

If you see a fatigue stop on your travels (usually during a long weekend) stop in for a break and say hi.