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Patterns of stimulant drug use on Western Australian heavy transport routes

Mabbott, N.A. and Hartley, L.R. (1999) Patterns of stimulant drug use on Western Australian heavy transport routes. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 2 (2). pp. 115-130.

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In July 1997, 236 truck drivers were interviewed at three truck stops in Western Australia. The interviews collected information on driver fatigue and stimulant drug taking as a fatigue countermeasure. Drivers have become more aware of fatigue as a problem within the industry over the past two years, however, 27% of drivers reported using stimulant drugs to combat driver fatigue. Interstate drivers use more prescription and illicit stimulant drugs to keep awake while intrastate drivers use more over the counter stimulants. Over the counter stimulants are not perceived as drugs by intrastate drivers because they are easily and legally obtainable and this is reflected within many of their responses.

The most frequent way that drivers obtained stimulant drugs was through a doctor, a chemist or illegal prescription. Anecdotal evidence from the drivers suggests that increasing pressure from the public and the media to eliminate illegally prescribed stimulant use by drivers has made them harder to obtain. Therefore, without fatigue issues within the industry being addressed, an increase in street purchases of illicit stimulants may occur. Prohibition of stimulant drug use without changing industry practices eliminates a fatigue countermeasure and could lead to a serious increase in fatigue-related crashes. The results of this study will help to identify “at risk” groups of drivers who can be targeted for education on fatigue and drug issues.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier Limited
Copyright: © 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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