Tired Motorists Cause 119 Deaths in Three Years
Fatigued drivers were to blame for 119 road deaths over the past three years, according to a Freedom of Information request from online bed retailer Time4Sleep. The Hudderslfield-based company found that a total of 3,050 accidents between 2013 and 2015 were caused by driver fatigue, with 2014 seeing the highest number of tiredness-related incidents, at 1,080.
A year earlier, 938 accidents were put down to fatigue, while the following year, 2015, saw 937 accidents attributed to motorists driving while tired.
To highlight the effects of tiredness on driving capability, Time4Sleep carried out an experiment with 27-year-old triplets Robert, Stephen and Patrick Davis, who were respectively given a full night’s sleep, disrupted sleep similar to that experienced by parents of a newborn child, and no sleep.
The triplets then drove for 90 minutes in a Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) motorway driving simulator. All three were asked to drive at 60mph in the inside lane of the three-lane motorway, while test measures such as reaction speed were taken into account.
Simon Tong, principal research scientist at TRL, said:
“Rob, who had normal sleep, coped remarkably well with what was an incredibly monotonous motorway journey.
“Steve, who had interrupted sleep, was substantially worse and he showed very clear signs of fatigue during that journey.
“Pat, who had no sleep at all, was in a completely different league. It would actually be hard to describe him as even being awake.
“It really confirms a lot of what we know about fatigue. It tends to lead to very poor hazard awareness, poor judgement of situations, slow motor skills and responses, poor reaction times and generally really poor alertness.”
Jonathan Warren, Time4Sleep’s director, said: “Over 3,000 road traffic accidents related to driver fatigue is a tremendous number and it is something that can be so easily avoided. “As a bed and mattress retailer, we know sleep is very important and affects our health and well-being. We wanted to conduct a study to find out the impact sleep deprivation can have on driving, to raise awareness of this important issue and encourage drivers to think twice before getting behind the wheel after experiencing lack of sleep.”