Drivers urged to wake up to the dangers of tired driving
New research out today (13 August) by Brake and Direct Line shows the vast majority of drivers admit driving while tired, and drivers don't know the difference between fact and fiction on tackling sleepiness at the wheel.
Brake and Direct Line's survey found that nearly three-quarters of drivers (74%) admit driving tired in the past 12 months – with almost one in ten (9%) saying they did so at least once a week. This is a huge increase from six years ago, when 46% of drivers owned up to getting behind the wheel while tired.
Most drivers simply don't know how often they should take rest breaks to help prevent tiredness, and what to do if they get sleepy behind the wheel. The Government advises breaks every two hours on long journeys, yet Brake and Direct Line's survey found that almost three-quarters (73%) fail to follow this advice by driving for three hours or more at a time.
Ellen Booth, Brake's campaigns officer, said: 'It is terrifying how complacent drivers are about tiredness at the wheel. It only takes a couple of seconds of sleep to cause a fatal crash, yet millions of drivers are regularly getting behind the wheel while tired, and most don't know how to deal with sleepiness on a long journey.'
To coincide with this report, Brake is holding a workshop on tackling driver tiredness for fleet and risk managers within companies. The workshop takes place on Thursday 21 October in Bristol and will include the latest research and guidance on preventing driver tiredness such as journey planning, employee training and awareness programmes. Delegates can book on by contacting Brake on 01484 559909 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brake is also calling on the Government to play a role in helping to prevent the problem through a number of recommended actions that will impact on fleets. These include:
• Run more education campaigns warning of the dangers of driving tired, and stating what drivers can do to prevent tired driving crashes.
• Make traffic policing a national policing priority, and ensure there are more patrols to spot and stop weaving vehicles driven by tired drivers.
• Introduce regular testing of drivers, particularly people who drive for work, for sleep apnoea, a medical condition that makes falling asleep at the wheel much more likely.
• Introduce better and longer safety barriers to minimise the consequences of crashes caused by tired drivers on motorway and trunk roads.
• Conduct an audit of rest areas on motorways and trunk roads, to ensure they provide adequate provision for our road network, enabling drivers to always find somewhere to stop and rest.
• Extend rules controlling hours that can be driven legally by large vehicle drivers to fleet drivers in vans and cars, and encourage companies to use trains more instead of cars for long distance journeys.