Euro project lowers health risks to drivers from bad roads


A new European project has decreased the health risks faced by lorry drivers constantly using poorly-maintained roads, says a Scottish council.

Poorly Maintained Road

Research has suggested that truck drivers risk heart disease and damage to their backs and eyes due to cab vibrations from uneven surfaces.

Tests by Roadex, a project involving local governments, road and forestry organisations in the UK, Finland, Greenland, Ireland, Norway and Sweden, found that lower tyre pressures reduce the extent to which drivers are bounced around on rough terrain.

The risks to drivers' health were published by Roadex in 2010.

The Roadex scheme, which started in 1998, allows members to share information on how best to maintain roads in remote and rural areas. Now a Roadex partner, the Highland Council, has published a report on the outcomes of the work.

Since the scheme began, some 70 forestry trucks in Scotland have been adapted for tyre pressure control systems (TPCS). The UK's first lorry to be converted was in Sutherland, where the council said TPCS was one of the project's main legacies.

The Highland Council, which is responsible for Scotland's longest non-truck road network – about 4,189 miles – has also recommended that the local authority continues to be actively involved in the Roadex scheme.

In its report, the Highland Council said the "innovative" TPCS fitted to timber haulage trucks had been beneficial for drivers and their vehicles.

Other important legacies noted by the Highland Council were roadbuilding on peat, improvements to an 80-year-old road in Caithness and a better grasp of the impact on some rural routes of HGV traffic.

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