The State of the Road fact sheet released by the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS) states that fatigue is one of the leading causes of accidents on the nation’s roads.
They claim in the fact sheet that if a driver has been awake for a total of 17 hours their ability to drive a vehicle is the equivalent of someone that has a blood alcohol level of .05.
When an accident is the result of fatigue generally they have serious consequences often resulting in a fatality because the driver will not try to do anything to avoid the accident.
According to the fact sheet at http://www.police.qld.gov.au/:
• Driver fatigue is particularly dangerous because it affects everyone, no matter how experienced a driver is. Driving when becoming sleepy is a high-risk behavior.
• Fatigue contributes to 20-30% of all deaths on the road. This means it is as major a contributory factor to the road toll as speeding and drink driving.
• The contribution of fatigue may even reach 40-50% in particular crash types, such as fatal single vehicle semi-trailer crashes.
• Fatigue is four times more likely to contribute to workplace impairment (including driving tasks) than drugs or alcohol. However, unlike drugs and alcohol which can be measured to assess risk, measuring and thus combating fatigue in the workplace is difficult.
• Road safety agencies rely on assessments by the police who attend crashes and statistical surrogates (ie. specific crash criteria such as timing, number of vehicles involved and speed zone parameters) to determine the prevalence of fatigue-related crashes. Though police officers are trained to perform such assessments, due to their subjective nature, it is expected that the role of fatigue in crashes is highly underestimated.
Driving when fatigued is high-risk behaviour for everyone but especially for truck drivers that spend many hours on the road and whose vehicles are weighty and can caused a lot of damage when they are involved in an accident.
To download the fact sheet see the link above, the facts are horrifying and they are a handy reminder of the serious nature of fatigue when posted in key locations in a workplace.