New research on truck driving culture

Dr Jann Karp from the University of New England recently visited the NTC to share some of her research findings from a project called 'Conversations with Truckies: Looking at Life Through Glass'.

Dr Karp has spent the last three years interviewing truck drivers about life on the road and accompanying them on long haul trips to gain a better understanding of the truck driving culture. The research she has conducted is wide ranging and includes insights into the impact of government regulation on drivers, how truck financing influences driver conduct, how GPS and other technologies impact on drivers, the use of amphetamines in the industry, how truck driving impacts family life.

Dr Karp’s interest in truck drivers and their unique culture grew out of a career in law enforcement and her subsequent academic studies. Dr Karp did her PhD in the field of police corruption and currently lectures in criminology at the University of New England. She now hopes to publish her research in the form of a book.

“The presentation builds on other activities the NTC undertakes to ensure that the reality of life on the road is taken into account when developing reforms. Obtaining an understanding of the real world impact of reforms and the issues that truck drivers are concerned about is an important part of our work,” said NTC National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Project Director, Dr Sarah Jones.

“Dr Karp’s presentation was particularly timely given that the NTC is in the process of developing a national strategy on compliance and enforcement for heavy vehicles.”

The NTC also works with truck driver and road safety advocate Rod Hannifey to foster engagement with truck drivers on reform proposals and developing issues, as well as involving industry associations and unions in its work.

“Law and policy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It has tangible effects on real people. The better we understand those effects the more effective our laws and policies will be,” said Dr Jones.

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