A NATIONAL initiative helping truck drivers and their families will start in South Australia in July.
The Trans-Help Foundation aims to boost the physical wellbeing of drivers and their families with a series of free health checks.
The launch of its SA branch was announced at the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of South Australia conference on June 8.
The organisation also provides legal support and counselling to truck drivers, and their relations, who have been involved in accidents, or suffered the loss of their partners or family members.
Social networking and a 1300 phone line provide 24-hour support seven days a week.
Trans-Help was set up in 2006 by Dianne Carroll after the death of her husband, who was a truck driver.
"The response we had from the livestock transporters has been unbelievable," she said.
"We offer a lot of support via the keyboard.
"We have a heavy vehicle accident Facebook page, a 1300 number, Skype, and other Facebook pages.
"We started an accident support page, to let drivers know of accidents across Australia which can stop them from getting stressed by being held up. They can then either decide to leave later or bypass routes."
Ms Carroll said a related mobile phone app would be launched through BP at the Perth Truck and Trailer Show in July.
SA coordinator Keith Wood, who is Ms Carroll's brother, said the organisation's expansion to SA would be launched within the next month.
They have already begun holding health checks at Tailem Bend, with the help of several nurses who have volunteered their time.
There are four Iveco Trans-Help vans across Australia, one based in SA, one at Townsville Queensland, and two at Tarcutta, New South Wales.
The SA van will travel regular across the State, stopping at Tailem Bend, Murray Bridge, Bordertown, Pinnaroo, Port Augusta, Ceduna, Penong, and Border Village at this stage.
Mr Wood said the organisation was completely run by volunteers, and was very pleased with the support received so far.
"It's been great," he said.
"There have been a couple of nurses who have been teaching our volunteers how to take blood pressure tests.
"We have about 30 volunteers at Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend but we're also trying to recruit some more in some of the towns we wish to head to."
Mr Wood said it was important to have somewhere that truck drivers could check up on their health.
"In most country areas it can take up to five weeks in advance to be able to book into the doctors and get a check-up," he said.
"This is a simple and free way to get a health check. Participants are given an emergency and medical record card which records their blood pressure, and the date in which it was taken."
Mr Wood said as a truck driver himself, he thought the Trans-Help organisation was vital.
"It gives them somewhere to go and get support through the bad times," he said.
"There is a lot of depression out there and this is a way we can support truck drivers.
"It's a really great initiative for the whole transport industry."