Last reviewed 21 March 2022

In a recent case, where the Traffic Commissioner for the East of England, Richard Turfitt, found William Morris of Linline Transport to have lost his good repute, he also took account of wider health issues facing the transport industry.

The operator and transport manager had encountered mental health challenges for some time, made worse by the challenging conditions of the pandemic.

Like many operators and drivers contributing to the national effort, he continued to work as a “key worker” during the first lockdown. However, the uncertainty of the pandemic and the lack of understanding about how the virus was transmitted, coupled with issues around container haulage, further impacted on his health, Mr Turfitt noted.

He acknowledged that the availability and health of professional drivers is rightly a matter of national concern, given the reliance placed on the transport industries, and stressed that it is important to recognise the additional pressures placed on drivers.

Guidance available from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”. It recognises that those suffering from stress may not be best placed to make decisions about any necessary control measures.

The Commissioner said: “Drivers must feel able to report issues with their health and to talk about their problems. Driving can be a solitary job, placing drivers at even greater risk. As a society, we must not lose sight of the importance of the driver and that driver’s welfare; that includes their mental health.”

The full text of his finding is available here.