Saskatchewan

Grad student seeking truck drivers to participate in research project about trauma on the job

A Regina woman is embarking on a research project all about the people who drive big rigs and she's hoping to find long haul truckers willing to share their experiences with trauma.

Regina woman researching for her master's thesis at Royal Roads University

Morgan Beaudry says the goal of her research is to learn about how truck drivers who experienced trauma on the job coped with it. She is hoping to learn what changes they think are needed to support truck drivers dealing with trauma. (CBC)

A Regina woman is embarking on a research project all about the people who drive big rigs and she's hoping to find long haul truckers willing to share their experiences with trauma.

Morgan Beaudry is collecting the data as part of her master's thesis through Royal Roads University.  

She says she is specifically looking for truckers who have been involved in an accident where death or serious injury occurred.

The goal is to better understand truck drivers who have experienced trauma on the job and how they have coped with what happened.

 "Our economy runs on 18 wheels," said Beaudry. "We need to know more about the needs of these drivers." 

Beaudry holds a Class A1 licence herself.  Although she doesn't currently drive a truck, she was required to to drive an 18-wheeler as part of a previous job. She said it gave her even more respect for those who drive truck for a living. 

"There's some good research on truckers, but what's missing is the voice of the truckers themselves," she said.

Morgan Beaudry is looking for truck drivers to participate in a research project. (Sharon Gerein/CBC)

Beaudry said most of the studies that have been done on workplace trauma have focused on police, paramedics, firefighters and hospital staff.

Trucking isn't usually associated with trauma, she said, but the drivers spend so much time on the road that most witness — and are sometimes involved in — crashes.

"No one ever really inquires about the truck driver when there's been a horrific crash," said Beaudry. "They might be physically uninjured, but the trauma of witnessing these events can be emotionally devastating."

Changing perceptions

The idea for the project came to her after she heard about a man who was believed to have intentionally stepped into the path of an oncoming semi truck on Regina's Ring Road in 2017.

Beaudry says the media talked to some witnesses and discussed the how the aftermath affected the police and paramedics, but that the driver got one line in the story saying he was not injured in the collision. It made her think about the truck driver and wonder how he was coping with what he witnessed from behind the wheel. 

She added that truckers get a bad rap in the media and popular culture. 

"They are often portrayed as ignorant, reckless maniacs and that's unfair to paint a whole group of people with this very shallow perspective. This doesn't help us see them as people, or individuals with particular needs." 

She hopes that her research will help to change that perception. Beaudry also wants the data she collects to help influence policy and help determine the needs of truckers after a traumatic event.

Involvement in the project would require about four hours of time. Participants cannot be experiencing symptoms of PTSD. They must be fluent in English and have internet access, an email address, a cell phone with a camera and be willing to participate in group discussions. Contact Beaudy here.

About the Author

Sharon Gerein is the producer for CBC Radio One's The Afternoon Edition in Saskatchewan.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now