Driver fatigue

Driver fatigue causes thousands of road accidents each year. Research shows that driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road accidents 1, and up to one quarter of fatal and serious accidents 2.

Sleepiness reduces reaction time (a critical element of safe driving). It also reduces vigilance, alertness and concentration so that the ability to perform attention-based activities (such as driving) is impaired. The speed at which information is processed is also reduced by sleepiness. The quality of decision-making may also be affected.

The advice on this page covers the risks of driving whilst tired and the benefits of planning a journey safely to avoid this.

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  1. "Fatigue and Road Safety: A Critical Analysis of Recent Evidence", Road Safety Web Publication No. 21, Department for Transport, 2011
  2. "Sleep-Related Crashes on Sections of Different Road Types in the UK", Road Safety Research Report No. 52, Department for Transport, 2004

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