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Exhausted drivers posing serious safety risks for fleets, says GEM

Fleets and drivers are being urged to address the dangers of fatigue on journeys; a particular issue for those driving on company business.

Company car drivers, young male drivers, shift workers and truck drivers are most at risk of fatigue-related collisions

The warning comes from road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist, which pointed to figures showing that fatigue is a major contributory factor in around 20% of road crashes, particularly in the early hours of the morning.

However, road safety officer Neil Worth added that on long, monotonous stretches of motorway it’s likely that a much greater proportion of collisions will be fatigue-related.

He continued: “Collisions occur when an exhausted driver fails to respond quickly and safely if a dangerous situation arises. These collisions are typically around 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury, as the driver is unable to take avoiding action to reduce severity of an impact.”

Statistics show that those most at risk from a fatigue-related collision include young male drivers, shift workers, truck drivers and company car drivers. Around 85% of drivers who cause fatigue-related crashes are male, and more than one third of these are aged under 30.

The organisation has also published a short video on the dangers of fatigue and produced a list of tips to help any driver reduce the risk of being in a fatigue-related collision.

  • Preventing fatigue is more helpful than having to deal with it, so ensure you get a good night’s sleep before heading off on a long trip.
  • Don’t drive for more than eight to 10 hours in a day. Aim to share the driving if possible.
  • Take regular breaks – a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours or every 100 miles is recommended.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before your trip. Even a small amount can significantly contribute to driver fatigue.
  • Avoid driving at times when you’d usually be sleeping.
  • If you feel you’re becoming drowsy, consider pulling over somewhere safe (and legal) to take a 15-minute powernap.
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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.