Job Safety

April 11, 2005

Another point about fatigue

A couple of quotes from my reading:

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100,000 automobile accidents a year are caused by driver fatigue: a number that includes over 1,550 dead and 71,000 injured. Accidents caused by tired drivers may actually be much higher: determining whether fatigue played a role in a crash is difficult.

“According to the UK Institute of Advanced Motorists, sleepy drivers kill more people than those who have drunk, with driver fatigue being estimated to play a significant part in up to 25% of accidents on motorways and fast roads.

“About 11% of all motorway accidents caused by fatigue occur between 4am and 6am with drivers 13 times more likely to have a sleep -related accident as someone driving between 10am to noon, or from 8pm -10pm. In an RAC Foundation poll last year more than 60% of drivers questioned said they had driven while sleepy, of which 8% had at some point nodded off at the wheel. Also 30% said they felt more stressed, angry and more likely to confront other drivers when they were tired.

Leading me to wonder about a relative measure for alcohol impairment and fatigue impairment. This summer we will be starting on an extensive sleep impairment trial. Is it possible to relate our results for levels of fatigue to a given level of alcohol impairment. I doubt there is a direct correlation between these two but, intuitively, there is a relationship. Perhaps because both are temporary conditions and both are common, and dangerous when driving.