Driver fatigue fears

Driver Fatigue Fears

A study into the impact of driving while tired has revealed more than 3,000 incidences of driver fatigue related accidents in Britain in the past three years.

Research

The research, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveals that there were 3,053 accidents attributed to falling asleep behind the wheel between 2013 and 2015, resulting in 119 fatalities. The worst year for accidents caused from driving while tired was 2014 with 1,080 reported cases, followed by 2013 with 938. Last year, the level of fatigue related accidents dropped to 937.

Out of the 21 UK constituencies that responded to the Freedom of Information request, Thames Valley recorded the highest number of fatigue related accidents over the three year time period with nearly 400 accidents, while Surrey reported the highest number of fatalities.

Top 10 Highest Number of Fatigue Related Accidents

Region

Total (Over three years)

Fatalities

Thames Valley

399

10

Dorset and Cornwall

358

2

Sussex

256

5

Kent

239

8

Hampshire

192

8

Surrey

174

11

Essex

169

8

West Mercia

160

2

Warwickshire

144

4

Hertfordshire

142

10

Humberside

126

2

Experiment

As part of the Sleep Drivers campaign, a nationwide survey revealed 83% of British drivers admitted to driving while tired at least once in the past, and a third of those felt they had put others at risk by doing so. To support this, a shocking experiment was carried out that showed the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel increases significantly, even after short-term disruption to sleep.

Triplet Tests

Conducted in conjunction with the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), the research shows driving without sleep is “akin to being drunk behind the wheel” and illustrates the full danger of hitting the road while tired. The experiment was carried out with 27-year old triplets Robert, Stephen and Patrick Davis, who were given a full night’s sleep, disrupted sleep, and no sleep, respectively. The disrupted sleep pattern was designed to imitate that of a parent with a newborn baby.

Simulation

The triplets then participated in a TRL simulation that replicates a 90 minute motorway drive in a real car. Each driver was instructed to stay in the inside lane of the three-lane motorway and drive at a constant speed of 60mph. Several test measures including reaction speed were implemented during the study. A video of the experiment taking place can be found here: https://www.time4sleep.co.uk/dont-drive-tired/.