The Northland Freight Group, made up of government agencies, industry groups and operators, staged a ‘Truck Wellness Stop’ on SH1 at Uretiti to help begin changing that. The regional police CVIU team stopped 236 truck drivers, each being offered a free health check, healthy breakfast food, information about filling in log- books correctly and a range of road safety messages, as well as a check of their vehicles.

Fifty-six drivers underwent heart, diabetes, blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol, blood sugar and triglyceride checks. They were also offered nutrition and quit smoking advice and support.

The results were a surprise to the drivers, Ms Hei Hei said, indicating that many truck drivers didn’t realise how poor their health had become.

For example, 20 percent had raised blood pressure, 19 per cent had high and 58 percent had moderate cardiovascular risk, eight were referred to their GPs for general check-ups, two were identified as having high blood sugars, and advised to see a GP for further tests, and one with very high blood pressure was taken off the road, and was being followed up by an occupational health nurse.

National Road Carriers’ executive officer Paula Rogers said it was hoped that truck wellness stops would send a message that collaboration was needed to improve the health of truck drivers.

“By working together, ACC, the Northland Regional Council, the police, the Northland DHB, the NZTA, industry groups such as Smith & Davies, Fonterra and National Road Carriers are increasing awareness of the risk on Northland roads and how to reduce the number of crashes,” she added.

The healthy breakfast options included liquid breakfast drink, bottled water, apples and bananas, while T-shirts provided by the `How’s your engine?’ campaign, fronted by former All Black Buck Shelford to promote the importance of heart and diabetes checks, were also given away.

“Truck drivers are vital to the economy of Northland, but they don’t always take as good care of themselves as they do of their trucks,” she said.

Article courtesy of Northland Age, 23 July 2013