Fatigued fleet drivers pose major road safety threat

Company car drivers are among those most at risk from a fatigue-related collision with a road safety organisation now calling for action to overcome tiredness.

The road safety sector has identified driver fatigue as one of the ‘five high-risk’ driver behaviour action areas to cut work-related road crashes. The others are: Speeding, time pressures, inside and outside vehicle distractions, and using mobile phone devices whilst driving, whether hand-held or hands-free.

Now road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging drivers to be wise to the dangers of fatigue on journeys.

It says that the risks are ‘particularly high among those who drive for work’, and singles out company car drivers as they are likely to be at the wheel for long periods, or with tight deadlines to meet in the course of a day. GEM also identifies truck drivers, shift workers and young male drivers as those most at risk from a fatigue-related collision.

Around 85 per cent of drivers who cause fatigue-related crashes are male, and more than one third of these are aged under 30, according to research by road safety charity Brake.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “Exhausted drivers pose a significant safety threat, to themselves, to their passengers and to others who share the same road space. Fatigue is a major contributory factor in around 20% of road crashes, particularly in the early hours of the morning. However, on long, monotonous stretches of motorway it’s likely that a much greater proportion of collisions will be fatigue-related.

“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.”

Driver safety and wellbeing is a priority at Fleet Service GB. As part of their range of services, their bespoke Driver Handbooks created for clients, cover in detail specific safety risks, such as fatigue and stress, and outline the best practice to avoid them. This gives the driver the tools to become better and safer drivers.

Top tips to help drivers’ 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 a 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.

GEM Motoring Assist’s video on the dangers of fatigue is available at: https://blog.motoringassist.com/road-safety/road-safety-general/dangers-fatigue/

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