Driver Fatigue: The Facts
By Amanda | 29-10-2015
It is estimated that around 150 people are killed or seriously injured every week in crashes involving someone who was driving, riding or otherwise using the road for work purposes.
Driver Fatigue: The Facts
At what cost?
Driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people do. It is estimated that around 150 people are killed or seriously injured every week in crashes involving someone who was driving, riding or otherwise using the road for work purposes. Research shows that driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road accidents and up to one quarter of fatal and serious accidents. . About 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles. Feeling tired when driving can affect the driver’s ability to concentrate on the road ahead and responsive reactions to road hazards can be badly impaired. Research confirms that drivers who fall asleep at the wheel are conscious of feeling sleepy and continue to ‘fight’ sleep for some time before an incident. A driver who has momentarily fallen asleep at the wheel for just 30 seconds at 70mph would have travelled a considerable distance, resulting in a potentially catastrophic incident
When are drivers at risk?
Accidents caused by tired drivers are most likely to happen:
- On long journeys on monotonous roads, such as motorways
- Between 2am and 6am
- Between 2pm and 4pm (especially after eating, or drinking even one alcoholic drink)
- After having less sleep than normal
- After drinking alcohol
- If taking medicines that cause drowsiness
- After long working hours or on journeys home after long shifts, especially night shifts
- Boredom (particularly on long monotonous and featureless roads)
Which drivers are most at risk?
Young male drivers, truck drivers, company car drivers and shift workers are most at risk of falling asleep while driving. Many professional drivers, especially HGV drivers, report increased levels of sleepiness and are involved in a disproportionately high number of fatigue-related accidents. However, two thirds of drivers who fall asleep at the wheel are car drivers. Most (85%) of the drivers causing sleep-related crashes are men, and over one third are aged 30 or under.
Anyone who suffers from a sleep disorder that prevents them from getting sufficient sleep is likely to be excessively tired during their waking hours, and so to be at higher risk of falling asleep when driving.
How can drivers reduce the risk?
- Make sure you are fit to drive. Do not begin a journey if you are tired. Get a good night’s sleep before embarking on a long journey.
- Avoid undertaking long journeys between midnight and 6am, when natural alertness is at a minimum
- Plan your journey to take sufficient breaks. A minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving is recommended
- Avoid driving when ill or taking medication which contra-indicates driving or using machinery.
- If necessary, plan an overnight stop
- Avoid setting out on a long drive after having worked a full day
- Avoid driving in the small hours (between 2am and 6am)
- Be extra careful when driving between 2pm and 4pm (especially after having eaten a meal or drunk any alcohol)
- If you feel sleepy, stop in a safe place. Do not stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway, drink two cups of caffeinated coffee and to take a short nap (up to 15 minutes).
How can employers help?
Employers have a responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act,to effectively assess the risks involved in their employees’ use of the road for work and put in place all “reasonably practicable” measures to manage those risks.
- Raise awareness of driver fatigue and incorporate into driver training
- Consider alternatives such as train and video conferencing
- Consider that some staff may have young children or sick relatives
- Arrange shifts, in particular when shift patterns may give rise to a potential problem and include commuting to and from the workplace
- Give consideration to allow drivers to stay overnight away from home, while acknowledging that some drivers may want to return home
- Actively monitor fatigue in the workplace. Journey planning should be monitored and drivers consulted during the planning process
Remember: tiredness kills, don’t fight it, stop in a safe place and take a break.
If you've enjoyed this article please help us share it with the rest of the world - Thank you
- Our First Business Award
- Win a VIP Family Day out to Lightwater Valley
- New Manager for Leeds Depot
- New Opening Times
- Special Deals throughout Summer
- New Curtain Side Luton Vehicles On Fleet this week
- We Launch our New Company Film
- ISO 9001:2015 The Revised Quality Management Systems Standard
- Change in Car Tax is imminent
- Helping Harrogate Bloom
- Mowbray School Outing
- Winner of the VIP Family Day to Lightwater Valley
- Eclipse Energy Efficiency
- Brian walks the length of the country in record time
- 64 Year Old Brian’s EpicWalk
- Proud Sponsors of the Huddersfield Giant
- Bus Gates now operating in Huddersfield
- Arrow Talks to Students at School Careers Fair
- Huddersfield Giants Kit Promotional Video
- Try one of our NEW Petrol Hybrids
- Dealing with Road Rage
- White Rose Awards
- Testing Your Eyes Can Save Your Life
- Driving in Fog
- Driver Fatigue: The Facts
- Harriers Play Host
- Flat Cap Friday Success
- Tax Discs to be Phased Out
- Sheffield Branch Opening Soon
- Aquaforce Charity Football Match
- Winner of the Yorkshire Show Business Card Draw
- New Custom Made Recovery Trucks
- Hull Depot wins Best Vehicle Hire 2017
- Examiner Business Awards 2017
- Saint Michael's Hospice Thanks Knaresborough
- Welcome to our first ever female mechanic
- 1988 - 2018
- Increase in Congestion Charge PCN
- What Brexit Could Mean for Fleet Managers
- Meet our MD James Hill
- What can we expect from electric vehicles in the future?
- Celebrating our Women
- Winners of the Family Business of the Year for the Yorkshire and Humber at the FSB Awards 2018
- A Paperless Future
- The rise of the new van owner
- The New Diesel Tax Changes Explained
- #SuperEorl Competition: Which Cartoon Character or Super Hero does Big Eorl most resemble and why?
- Drivers' worst habits according to van owners
- Competition winners enjoy Day as A Super League player with the Giants
- Family Ties Traced to 1938 between Arrow Self Drive and Crowther & Shaw
- Support for Leeds Beckett Charity Ride
- What is AdBlue?
- Business Of the Year
- The Great Yorkshire Show Birthday Celebrations
- Shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
- Wakefield Depot raise funds for Wakefield Hospice
- Arrow Self Drive Becomes 100% Family owned
- A Visit to Sheffield Children's Hospital
- Arrow Supports Christmas Charit-trees
- My Passion: By our MD James Hill
- At Your Service!
- My Passion by James Hill
- Arrow Self Drive Continual Training & Staff Development
- The New London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ): 2 months to go
- Leeds Clean Air Zone: 11 months to go
- AdBlue: A guide for fleet managers