29 Aug 2018

Qld Road Safety Week - Driver Fatigue

Fatigue isn't just about falling asleep at the wheel, even the lightest lapse in concentration can cause serious consequences... Queensland Road Safety Week focuses on refreshing your knowledge towards the "Fatal Five" issues that are faced by all road users.

Driver Fatigue

On average over 31 people are killed and 462 seriously injured each year on Queensland roads as a result of fatigue1

The facts about Fatigue 
  • Being awake for about 17 hours has a similar effect on performance as having a blood alcohol content of 0.052.
  • Fatigue-related crashes are often severe and frequently occur when the driver is alone.
  • Most sleep-related vehicle crashes happen between 2am and 6am, and between 2pm and 4pm3.
  • Young drivers/riders (16 to 24) are involved in approximately 30% of fatigue-related crashes where people were killed or hospitalised on Queensland roads4.
  • Young drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatigue-related crash.
What does Fatigue do? 
  • Vigilance and alertness deteriorates 
  • Concentration suffers
  • Performance is impaired 
  • Reaction times suffer 
  • Judgement is impaired
Recognise the Warning Signs
  • Drifting in the lane or over lane lines
  • Changing speed without reason
  • Yawning
  • Blinking more than usual
  • Notice your eyes closing for a moment or going out of focus
  • Feeling drowsy, tired or exhausted
  • Having trouble keeping your head up
  • Don’t remember the previous few minutes of driving
  • Experience slower reaction times
  • ‘Microsleeping’. 
Before You Drive! 
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Avoid driving at times you’re normally sleeping
  • Avoid long drives after a day’s work
  • Understand the effects any medicine you’re taking might affect your driving
  • Plan to include regular rest breaks on long trips
  • Know and look for the warning signs of fatigue
  • When possible, arrange to share the driving
  • When you know you’re fatigued, avoid driving altogether. Take a taxi, public transport or rely on another driver.
REMEMBER – If you’re fatigued…
  • Pull over in a safe place (such as a rest area or ‘driver reviver’ site) and take a break or even a nap
  • When possible, share the driving



1 Department of Transport and Main Roads QLD. Unpublished data extracted 27 June 2018 using road casualty statistics 2013-2017.
2 Williamson, A. M. and Feyer, A. M. (2000). ‘Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication.’ Occupational and Environmental Medicine 57(10): 649-655.
3 Horne, J. A. and Reyner, L.A. (1995) ‘Sleep related vehicle accidents.’ BMJ 310(6979): 565-567.
4 Department of Transport and Main Roads QLD, unpublished. Data extracted 27 June 2018 using road casualty statistics 2013-2017.