Felixstowe: Lorry drivers’ strokes act as big wake-up call

Tracy Groves, from the Stroke Association, teamed up with Maritime’s Gary Austin to put on a blood

Tracy Groves, from the Stroke Association, teamed up with Maritimes Gary Austin to put on a blood pressure check day for drivers at the Felixstowe based depot. - Credit: Archant

Truckers facing the risk of a stroke are being given advice to change their lifestyles to help them stay on the road.

Tracy Groves, from the Stroke Association, teamed up with Maritime’s Gary Austin to put on a blood

Tracy Groves, from the Stroke Association, teamed up with Maritimes Gary Austin to put on a blood pressure check day for drivers at the Felixstowe based depot. - Credit: Archant

Lack of exercise, smoking, weight problems and alcohol are the main contributory factors for those who suffer strokes, which kill 50,000 people a year.

Lorry drivers are among a target group identified at potential risk, especially as the consequences of a driver of a 38-ton vehicle suffering an attack while on the road could be horrific.

Haulage company Maritime Transport Ltd, which has 200 drivers at its Felixstowe headquarters and around 900 countrywide, has teamed up with the Stroke Association to make its truckers more aware and give them special health checks and advice sessions.

Driver administration manager Gary Austin said two of his drivers suffered mini-strokes within three months of each other, and while they had suffered no long-term health effects, it still meant they were banned from driving a lorry for a year.

He said: “Our drivers are very important to us as employees and people and we take their welfare very seriously.

“The advice sessions here are completely anonymous, but we are delighted that so many have voluntarily come along to take part and we hope that they will take the advice, make the changes recommended or see a GP.

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“For those drivers who have had mini-strokes it has been a warning to them and the year they then face away from work is very frustrating.

“It’s also shocked a lot of our other drivers and been a big wake-up call.”

Tracy Groves, of the Stroke Association, said drivers had had their blood pressure taken, and been given advice on diet, alcohol intake, advice on the need for regular exercise, and stopping smoking.

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