August 23, 2017
Shocking new research has found that driving tired has contributed to more road accidents in the UK than those impaired by taking drugs. The study by the Department for Transport reported that 20% of road accidents on major roads are fatigue related compared to 18% involving impairment by drug taking.
In 2015 figures show that 435 people were injured due to fatigue compared to 350 in drug related accidents. It was also reported that commercial vehicles accounted for 40% of those accidents, highlighting the fact that many employees could be overworked and lacking sleep.
“When you think one in five crashes is fatigue related this has to make people sit up and take notice.”
Change in Law
From March 2015 it’s illegal to drive if you are either unfit through drug use or if you have above a specified level of an illegal drug in your blood stream. Those caught face a minimum 12-month driving ban, up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a criminal record.
However, there’s no law against driving whilst tired. Campaigners have called for a change and for offenders to be given tougher punishments if they drive while suffering from sleep deprivation. This may prove difficult to implement, especially for fleet employees who drive cars, vans and other commercial vehicles for a living. Employers should have appropriate health and safety policies in place to ensure staff aren’t driving for long hours and suffering from fatigue.
Combating the Issue
According to comparison site scrapcarcomparison.co.uk thousands of cars are scrapped each year due to fatigue related crashes. Industry experts are shocked by the report and believe that things should be done to combat this issue.
A spokesman for the site commented: “When you think one in five crashes is fatigue related this has to make people sit up and take notice. Just as there are rules for consuming an excessive amount of alcohol, should there be a case for restrictions on driving where the driver has had less than set minimum hours of sleep in the past 24 hours?”