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Driving tired?

Driving tired?

 

Dr Karen McDonnell calls for us all to think about the dangers of fatigue – especially when behind the wheel.

Performance indicators are widely used in health and safety, and as we enter a new year many of us (51 per cent to be exact, according to Forbes) have given some consideration to personal performance indicators in the form of New Year’s Resolutions.

The prevailing theme of these pledges focuses on improving physical wellbeing, such as weight loss, increasing exercise or an improved diet. While these do indeed reap rewards, it is interesting that few resolutions mention better sleep or feeling less fatigued at work, while driving or during ‘down’ time.

In December 2023, the European Commission’s Mobility and Transport department published a Safety Performance Indicator report on fatigue with a focus on the toxic mix of fatigue and driving. It estimates that driver fatigue is a contributing factor in 15 per cent to 20 per cent of crashes.

Take a moment to think about crashes associated with you, your organisation and within your supply chain and reflect on the potential impact.

Defining fatigue is a subject of great conversation. The report describes it as “a broad concept which is often used interchangeably with concepts like tiredness, drowsiness and sleepiness”. There is no single definition, but at least the conversations are being had that unpick the topic, looking at what the magnitude of the challenge is and then what has worked within each of our sphere of influence.

On average, 23 per cent of European drivers reported driving when being fatigued in Europe when asked the following question: “Over the last 30 days how often did you, as a car driver, drive when you were so sleepy that you had trouble keeping your eyes open?” What answer do you think you would get from asking the same question about people in your organisation who drive for work?

It is also worth considering the age range of people in your organisation who drive for work, as the report highlights a higher incidence of fatigued driving in 18-24-year-olds – 30 per cent against 11 per cent of those aged 65 and over.
 

The Scottish Occupational Road Safety Alliance (ScORSA), maintained by RoSPA, is hosting a free hour-long webinar on driver fatigue:

The Road Safety Hour: Driving Tired Driving tired kills, what are the challenges in the transportation industry and how can they be overcome?

Join us on Tuesday January 23, 2024 at 11am GMT to find out more.

Register by clicking here.

Karen McDonnell.jpg


Dr Karen McDonnell is RoSPA's Occupational Safety and Health Adviser and Head of RoSPA Scotland. A Past President of IOSH, Karen represents RoSPA on the Sleep Charity Advisory Board, the Council for Work and Health and the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organisations.

 
 

 

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