Fatigue fact sheet B.pub by gdf57j



                                                                                            Fatigue is one of the leading factors
                                                                                            contributing to road crashes.

                                                                                            A driver who has been awake for 17 hours
                                                                                            has a driving ability similar to that of a
                                                                                            driver with a blood alcohol concentration
                                                                                            (BAC) of 0.05, and after 24 hours, similar to
                                                                                            a BAC of 0.10.1

                                                                                            Fatigue crashes are usually severe, resulting
                                                                                            in serious injury and death, as the driver
                                                                                            makes no attempt to avoid or prevent the

• Driver fatigue is particularly dangerous         role of fatigue in crashes is highly           • On rural roads:
  because it affects everyone, no matter           underestimated.                                  The relative risk of dying as a result of a
  how experienced a driver is. Driving                                                              fatigue-related crash in rural areas of
  when becoming sleepy is a high risk            When are fatigue crashes most likely to            Queensland is 13.5 times higher than the
  behaviour.                                     occur?                                             risk in urban areas.2
• CARRS-Q estimates that fatigue is the          • Fatigue becomes a factor in all trips that     • Long straight stretches of road.
  primary contributing factor in 6% in all         occur during normal sleep times, or at
  crashes, 15% in all fatal crashes and 30%        any time the driver has previously been        Who is most at-risk of a fatigue crash?
  of fatal crashes on rural roads                  deprived of sleep. This risk is increased if   Driver fatigue affects everyone, however
  nationally.2 The contribution of fatigue         the driver is taking medication or driving     those at higher risk of a fatigue-related
  may even reach 40-50% in particular              alone.                                         crash are:
  crash types, such as fatal single vehicle      • A driver is 4 times more likely to have a      • Rural drivers and riders
  semi-trailer crashes.3                           fatal fatigue crash if they are driving        • Young male drivers and riders – research
• Fatigue is four times more likely to             between 10pm and dawn.5                           indicates that 75.5% of fatigued drivers
  contribute to workplace impairment             • Nearly 30% of all fatal fatigue crashes           and riders involved in single vehicle
  (including driving tasks) than drugs or          occur during public and school holiday            crashes in 1998 were male, with 35.1%
  alcohol. However, unlike drugs and               periods.7                                         being aged between 17 and 24 years of
  alcohol which can be measured to assess                                                            age.6 Drivers and riders aged over 50
  risk, measuring and thus combating             Where are fatigue crashes most likely to            years are more often involved in fatigue
  fatigue in the workplace is difficult.4        occur?                                              crashes in the afternoon (12-6pm).2
• Road safety agencies rely on                   • In a 1998 Australian study of fatigue-         • Shift workers and people with long work
  assessments by the police who attend             related crashes6, New South Wales had             hours (particularly on their trips home
  crashes and statistical surrogates               the highest percentage of fatal crashes           from work).
  (ie. specific crash criteria such as timing,     involving driver fatigue (22%) and the         • Commercial drivers including heavy
  number of vehicles involved and speed            Northern Territory had the highest rate           vehicle drivers. Commercial drivers
  zone parameters) to determine the                of fatigue-related crashes per 100 million        spend long hours on the road, frequently
  prevalence of fatigue-related crashes.           vehicle kilometres travelled (0.66).              drive at night, many keep highly irregular
  Though police officers are trained to            16.7% of the national fatal fatigue-              schedules and may keep irregular sleep
  perform such assessments, due to their           related crashes occurred in Queensland.           schedules. This lifestyle can cause
  subjective nature, it is expected that the                                                         chronic sleep deprivation. It is estimated
                                                                                                  • Both drivers and passengers should be
                                                                                                      alert to the signs of fatigue and how to
                                                                                                      take action. The only cure for fatigue is
                                                                                                      sleep. If you are feeling sleepy, stop
                                                                                                      immediately and a short nap of 10-20
                                                                                                      minutes will prevent some fatigue.
                                                                                                      Allow time to recover from your sleep
                                                                                                      before continuing. Consuming a caffeine
                                                                                                      drink may help.
                                                                                                  •   Share the driving task with others.
                                                                                                  •   Avoid travelling long distances after a full
                                                                                                      day’s work.
                                                                                                  •   Seek medical advice if you regularly feel
                                                                                                  •   Be aware of the effects of any
                                                                                                      medications you are taking. See your
                                                                                                      pharmacist or GP for advice on your
                                                                                                      current medication schedule.

  that 1 in 3 fatal articulated truck crashes    Warning signs of fatigue                         WHAT IS BEING DONE TO PREVENT
  involve fatigue (compared with 1 in 6 for      • Wandering in the lane or over lane lines
                                                                                                  FATIGUE-RELATED CRASHES?
  other fatal road crashes that do not           • Changes in speed, especially slowing
                                                                                                  Policy and legislation
  involve a truck). However usually the            down without reason
                                                                                                  • The National Road Safety Strategy and
  truck driver is not at fault. The truck        • Poor concentration
                                                                                                    Queensland Road Safety Strategy
  driver was the fatigued party in only 1        • Boredom
                                                                                                    provides a framework for national and
  out of every 6 fatal fatigue crashes           • Restlessness
                                                                                                    state road safety initiatives, including
  involving an articulated truck and             • Yawning
                                                                                                    those targeting fatigue-related crashes.
  another vehicle.6                              • Drowsiness
                                                                                                  • Fatigue driving in Queensland is
• Passenger cars are the main vehicles           • Head nodding
                                                                                                    regulated by four means2:
  involved in fatigue crashes. In a 1998         • Microsleeps (brief sleep episodes that
                                                                                                    − Transport Operations (Road Use
  national study, 70.2% of fatigued                can be as brief as a few seconds).
                                                                                                        Management – Fatigue Management)
  drivers/riders involved in single vehicle
                                                                                                        Regulation (Qld) 1998.
  crashes were driving passenger cars at         Contributory factors to fatigue
                                                                                                    − Transport Operations (Passenger
  the time of the crash.6                        • Insufficient sleep (number 1 contributor,
                                                                                                        Transport) Standard (Qld) 2000.
• People with medical conditions (eg.              by far)
                                                                                                    − Transport Operations (Road Use
  sleep apnea). About 24% of middle-aged         • Long periods awake
                                                                                                        Management) Act (Qld) 1995; and
  men, 28% of transport drivers and 9% of        • Poor quality sleep
                                                                                                    − Criminal Code Act (Qld) 1899.
  middle-aged women experience                   • Disruption of the daily cycle of waking
                                                                                                  • The National Transport Commission
  obstructive sleep apnea, where the               and sleeping) – ie. driving when you
                                                                                                    introduced Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue
  airway collapses during sleep and                would normally be asleep.
                                                                                                    Legislation in September 2008. The new
  breathing is interrupted. 4 The effect is      • Sustained mental or physical effort
                                                                                                    legislation, targeting all parties in the
  excessive fatigue and slow response            • Inadequate rest breaks
                                                                                                    supply chain, requires enhanced
  times. People with sleep apnea have up         • Stress
                                                                                                    management of driver fatigue and
  to 7 times the number of motor vehicle         • Environmental stresses (eg. heat, noise,
                                                                                                    setting revised work and rest hours for
  crashes compared to people without the           vibration, climate, illumination)
                                                                                                    drivers. A national survey of Australian
  condition. 2 Only 10% of sufferers are         • Illness or pain
                                                                                                    transport companies in 20029 revealed
  diagnosed.4 The estimated financial            • Lifestyle/eating habits
                                                                                                    that though awareness of the dangers of
  costs of sleep disorder related crashes
                                                                                                    fatigue was high, changes in operational
  was $1.1 billion in 2004.2                     TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE                              practice were significantly lagging. The
                                                 Do not begin a drive if you are already            new legislation aims to address this
How does fatigue affect driving?                 feeling tired. If you notice signs of fatigue,     shortfall. Further information can be
Driving while tired increases the risk of        these strategies may help:                         found at www.ntc.gov.au
being involved in a crash where someone is       • Ensure you regularly get enough sleep.
injured or killed. The effects of fatigue on a      Most people need 7-9 hours sleep per          Education
driver include:                                     day and young people require more.            • Mass media education campaigns aim to
• Impaired performance                           • Get a good night’s sleep before                  heighten driver awareness of the
• Loss of attentiveness                             travelling.                                     dangers of fatigued driving. Queensland
• Slower reaction times                          • Avoid driving at the high risk times             Transport spends approximately
• Impaired judgement                                (during normal sleep times).                    $957,000 annually on light vehicle
• Poorer performance on skilled tasks            • Take frequent breaks (a rest break every         fatigue public education campaigns.2 In
• Increasing probability of falling asleep          2 hours is recommended).                        addition, educational initiatives are run
• Subjective feelings of drowsiness or
                                                Research                                          on-road enforcement and is recognised
                                                • Australian research has focussed on the        by the Courts.
                                                  improved definition of fatigue crashes,      • The development and implementation of
                                                  analysis of statistical trends in fatigue-     effective community education initiatives
                                                  related crashes, reviews of current            targeting high risk groups is essential.
                                                  literature pertaining to the issue, surveys    Such programs should target a better
                                                  of high risk groups, and the development,      understanding of sleep rhythms, the signs
                                                  trial and evaluation of work-related road      of fatigue, how to combat fatigue and the
                                                  safety countermeasures designed to             dangers of driving whilst tired.
                                                  prevent and combat fatigue.                  • Continued work with high risk industries is
                                                • There has been extensive research aimed        recommended to ensure legislative
                                                  at developing on-board driver monitoring       compliance and encourage the
                                                  and crash prevention devices to reduce         development of effective
                                                  fatigue risks, but the effectiveness of        countermeasures to reduce the incidence
                                                  these as a crash prevention measure            of work-related fatigue crashes (eg.
                                                  remains unproven. Such technology has          improved rostering, education, health
                                                  included alarm rest break reminders and        programs and alternative transport
                                                  devices designed to monitor brain wave         arrangements to and from work).
                                                  activity, eye movement, steering wheel       • Improved training of general practitioners
                                                  movement and levels of energy and              to increase the identification, education
                                                  concentration.                                 and treatment of patients with sleep
                                                CARRS-Q’S WORK IN THIS AREA                    • Improved training and guidance for police
                                                • Development of potential new measures          officers to more accurately recognise
                                                  of sleepiness.                                 fatigue-related crashes.
                                                • Studies of a wide range of objective         • Monitoring the national and international
                                                  physiological measures of fatigue.             findings of research on driver fatigue.
                                                • Surveys of driver exposure to sleepiness     • The implementation of improved road
   by motoring organisations (eg. RACQ),          and their on-road compensation                 design countermeasures to prevent
   local police divisions, high-risk industries   strategies.                                    fatigue crashes.
   (eg. mining) and fleet companies.            • Investigation of the effects of shiftwork
                                                  on driver sleepiness.
Environment                                     • Investigation of the effects of other social
• There are approximately 530 rest areas,         factors (including having a new baby) on
  heavy vehicle stopping areas and points         driver sleepiness.
  of interest such as scenic lookouts in        • Assessment of potential strategies to
  Queensland.8 These aim to reduce of             combat sleepiness, including evaluation
  number of fatigued drivers by                   of nap breaks as a countermeasure.
  encouraging regular rest breaks. The          • CARRS-Q is operating the State’s first
  Queensland “Driver Reviver” program             advanced driving simulator which enables
  operates in many rest areas during              researchers to study drivers in critical
  holiday periods.                                situations with a high degree of realism.
• Road engineering treatments that address        Intelligent transport systems (ITS) which
  run-off-road and head-on crashes can            can monitor and alert a driver of
  assist to make the environment more             increased fatigue may prove beneficial.          FOR MORE INFORMATION
  forgiving, reducing the chance of a             Simulator-based research may provide
  fatigue-related crash or its severity if it     valuable insights to advance the science         Clare Murray
  does occur. Divided roads, audio tactile                                                         Marketing & Events Officer
                                                  of this field.
  line marking, removal of roadside hazards
                                                                                                   Queensland University of Technology
  (eg. trees, poles and culverts) and profile FUTURE DIRECTIONS                                    130 Victoria Park Road
  line markings are used throughout the         • The development of a nationally                  Kelvin Grove QLD 4059, Australia
  road network and particularly target black      standardised definition of a “fatigue            Phone         +61 (0)7 3138 4568
  spot areas.                                     crash” and improved fatigue crash                Fax           +61 (0)7 3138 7532
• The reduction of driver monotony by             reporting systems are required which are         Email         clare.murray@qut.edu.au
  making the road environment more                reliable, accurate and nationally                Website       www.carrsq.qut.edu.au
  interesting (eg. curved rather than             standardised. Current reporting systems
  straight roads, scenic routes) also assists     fail in all three areas.                         CARRS-Q, State of the Road: Fatigue Fact
  to prevent driver fatigue.                    • The development and trial of valid and           Sheet, 2011
                                                  reliable fatigue detection technology is
                                                                                                   (Updated: May 2011)
                                                  recommended, that is suitable for use in
1 Australian Transport Council, National         5 Roads and Traffic Authority. (2008). Driver     file/eb918105fb9fbf9/Driver_Fatigue_
  Road Safety Action Plan 2007 and 2008.           fatigue fact sheet.                             Brochure.pdf
2 Legislative Assembly of Queensland:              www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/fatigue/        9 Feyer, A., Williamson, A., Friswell, R. and
  Parliamentary Travelsafe Committee.            6 Dobbie, K. (2002). Fatigue-related crashes:     Sadural, S. (2002). Driver fatigue: A survey
  (2005). Driving on empty: Fatigue driving in     An analysis of fatigue-related crashes on       of long distance transport companies in
  Queensland. Report No. 43. Queensland            Australian roads using an operational           Australia. Research report CR209.
  Government: Brisbane.                            definition of fatigue. Road Safety Research     Department of Infrastructure, Transport,
3 Haworth, N., Triggs, J. and Grey, E. (1988).     Report OR23. Australian Transport Safety        Regional Development and Local
  Driver fatigue: Concepts, measurement and        Bureau: Canberra.                               Government: Canberra.
  crash countermeasures. Monash                  7 City of Canterbury. (2008) Driver fatigue
  University: Report No. CR72. Federal             fact sheet. www.canterbury.nsw.gov.au/
  Office of Road Safety: Canberra.                 www/html/264-driver-fatigue-.asp
4 Australian Mining. (2008). Dealing with        8 Royal Automobile Club of Victoria. (2009).
  driver fatigue article.                          Too tired to drive? fact sheet.
  www.miningaustralia.com.au                       www.racv.com.au/wps.wcm/resources/

                                       The CARRS-Q vision is to decrease the local, national
                                        and international burden of trauma-related harm.

                                                 FOR MORE INFORMATION
                                                 Clare Murray
                                                 Marketing & Events Officer
                                                 Queensland University of Technology
                                                 130 Victoria Park Road
                                                 Kelvin Grove QLD 4059

                                                 Phone        +61 (0)7 3138 4568
                                                 Fax          +61 (0)7 3138 7532
                                                 Email        clare.murray@qut.edu.au
                                                 Website      www.carrsq.qut.edu.au

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