New course developed after research shows mindfulness can reduce stress and improve safety for professional drivers
Fleet safety and driver wellbeing can now be achieved simultaneously following the launch of a programme for professional drivers this week.
The ‘Mindfulness for Professional Drivers’ course, created by the Guild of Mindful Driver Trainers, is now available for teams of up to 12 employees to ease stress and give drivers the tools to manage pressure and anxiety in the future.
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present that is achieved through focused attention, coupled with a non-judgmental approach to current experiences. It is recognised by the NHS as a method of improving mental wellbeing.
Research carried out by Nottingham Trent University in 2017 showed that drivers who are naturally more mindful, generally have lower engagement with:
- distracting tasks while driving
- increased ability to manage stress and physical pain in a new way
- reduced driving anger
- lower risk, and
- increased safety behaviours
The six-week online course, which consists of 1.5 hourly sessions once a week, can be delivered either during the working day, weekends or evenings and counts as Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
The programme was developed by San Harper, of the Guild of Mindful Driver Trainers, a practising Grade A ADI and MindfulnessUK trained teacher, after discovering the benefits of a mindfulness-based approach to driving and driver training.
After qualifying to teach Integrating Mindfulness and Compassion in Professional Practice as well as the eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course (MBSR), she has devised and delivered mindfulness courses within the corporate sector and to driver trainers with very positive outcomes.
Professor David Crundall, the Research Excellence Framework Coordinator for Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Thousands of academic studies have demonstrated the links between mindfulness and improvements in a variety of measures, including reduced anxiety, protection from distraction and enhanced attention to tasks.
“Many of these outcomes should theoretically benefit drivers, and our recent studies at Nottingham Trent University have indeed demonstrated that training in mindfulness can improve the way we drive, both in simulators and on real roads.
“Having spoken with San Harper, it is clear that her passion lies in integrating mindfulness into road safety and our evidence suggests that this should bring about positive change.”
According to the Health and Safety Executive, mental health issues (including stress, depression, anxiety and serious conditions) resulted in 17.9 million working days lost the UK in 2019/20.*
Mindfulness for drivers can improve mental health and lead to happier, calmer people, which in turn can improve efficiency at work and reduce sickness absence.
With more than a quarter of all road traffic incidents believed to involve somebody who is driving as part of their work at the time,** mindfulness can also play an important role in improving road safety and in benefiting the communities in which drivers are working.
The ‘Mindfulness for Professional Drivers’ course has been launched at a time when employers are being encouraged more than ever before to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees as well as being faced with internal pressures to improve workplace efficiency.
San Harper said: “It blows me away to witness the shifts in mindset brought about through these courses in mindfulness and compassion within the road safety industry and corporate sector.
Most of the time we are living on autopilot, unaware of how the subtle choices we make day to day can have such a powerful overall effect.
“Through mindfulness and compassion practices, we can learn to tap into our innate wisdom to make more conscious choices and better decisions, which ultimately will lead to more conscious, considerate and safer drivers.”
For more details go to: https://www.guildmdt.com/