Truck back!

Truck back!

More than half of truck drivers in Europe have problems with back, neck and shoulder pain, according to a study by Volvo Trucks.

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New Volvo Dynamic Steering makes it possible to control a truck with minimal effort - and reduces the risk of injury for the driver.

Long days behind the wheel cause many truck drivers to feel pain in their upper back. Henrik Gustafsson, aged 27, is one of them.

Five years ago, when driving long-haul transport to Norway, he developed a problem with a muscle behind his left shoulder.

Gustafsson stopped driving long-haul because of this and started driving timber in the forest with his father. He also took up weight training, but the problem did not disappear completely.

However, a year-and-a-half ago Gustafsson was given the opportunity to drive the new Volvo FH, equipped with Volvo Dynamic Steering, in field tests. Since then his back has felt much better.

"The difference now is that I don't have to be on edge and drive in a guarded way. With Volvo Dynamic Steering the truck is very stable," he said.

The problems associated with industrial injuries have long been recognised.

In a study by Volvo Trucks involving 160 truck drivers in Europe, over half had problems with back, shoulder and neck pain.

In the study, conducted in 2011 and 2012, the majority of participants were men who drove long-haul operations.

Another 2011 study by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work shows that 54% of women and 37% of men in the transport sector in Europe have muscular and skeletal problems.

These are often concentrated in the backs, shoulders and necks of the drivers.

Peter Bark, who conducts research on health and safety issues at the Transport Research Institute explained why: "Tightening muscles in the arms and neck, together with repetitive movements, put a large strain on certain muscle groups.

"Gripping the wheel hard when steering leads to even greater tension, I would expect.

"Larger muscles like biceps are not as sensitive, but when tensing the forearm and certain muscles that connect to the fingers and hands, there is a risk of feeling fatigued.

"Tensing the shoulders also leads to fatigue, which can then spread to the back of the neck".

The new Volvo Dynamic Steering greatly reduces the movements of the steering wheel, which would otherwise be created by uneven roads.

It not only makes steering easier and more comfortable for the driver, it also impacts less on the muscles and joints in the long term.


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