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Does depression increase truck crashes?

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The Australian Trucking Association is calling for truck drivers down under to be screened for depression. According to an article at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/08/25/2665909.htm the screening would be done as part of a driver’s physical using a questionnaire.

Interesting concept.

I did a little digging but couldn’t find anything more than a little anecdotal evidence for a link between depression and crashes (of any kind). There was far more mention of depression as part of the aftermath of crashes, than there was of it being a contributing factor. It does stand to reason, that being any less than 100% fit (whether physically or mentally) could increase crash risk.

Do truck drivers suffer from depression? Hey, have you seen freight rates lately? They’re enough to make anyone depressed. :)

All kidding aside, depression might not be the only thing worth screening for. I think it might be useful to find some way of screening for road rage, distractability, and any other factor that might be causing someone to devote all of their resources to the task of driving.

Comments welcome.

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Seems like sleep apnea would be better, but depression does fit into many of the same issues. Interesting study.