Underestimating the danger of driver fatigue seems to be a common occurrence these days. Fleet companies often rely on their drivers for transporting goods between warehouses, product deliveries, and to get to remote job sites. The fleet drivers also have to work inconsistent driving schedules and/or take long, tiring trips which often result in them not driving at their best. Studies in the United States have shown that being awake for up to 19 hours straight can cause impaired performance. This is equivalent to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%!
Who is Affected by Driver Fatigue?
NHSTA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) estimated that approximately 100,000 of police-reported automobile crashes per year were caused by driver fatigue. Reports from the National Sleep Foundation also stated that out of 169 million adult drivers who polled, 37% admitted falling asleep behind the wheel and 60% admitting to driving while drowsy. In addition, this form of fatigue is most common the following demographics:
- Young adult makes
- Individuals who are living with children
- Shift workers that have inconsistent schedules and/or subject to long commutes
The issue with driver fatigue is it is often hard to prove that that it is the sole cause of accident. There is currently a lack of tests—similar to alcohol impairment—that can be administered. What’s more, the police force does not include a fatigue assessment in investigation practices.
How Does Driver Fatigue Affect Drivers?
A majority of professional fleet driver tend not to consider tiredness as a threat, and thus do not act right away. You should keep in mind that drowsiness while behind the wheel can happen at an alarming rate. Research has shown that approximately one in five drivers recognize said drowsiness and will pull over to rest. Here is a quick look at the various effects of driver fatigue:
- Decreased alertness that causes drivers to miss traffic signals and/or road signs
- Drivers become more susceptible to road rage due to increased impatience and being easily irritable
- Drivers temporarily loses their ability to drive defensively
What Measures Can Fleet Companies Take?
Accidents or employee injuries caused by drivers being too tired can cost millions of dollars in potential lawsuits and damages. It is pertinent that you look into fleet tracking solutions that allow you to monitor driver behavior and fatigue. This not only ensures safety and best practices—always playing safe when starting to feel too tired, being well rested at all times, developing strong decision making and recognition skills—when driving, but also make sure your fleet drivers take the best routes to complete their assigned tasks. Today’s telematics technology can also help to track the status and health of your vehicles, via vehicle diagnostics.
With all the information you are receiving from this technology, you will be able to encourage and advice your drivers to stay off the roads when experience symptoms such as having trouble focusing, slow reaction time, and more. Drivers, in a fatigued state, often make little attempt to avoid an oncoming car or crash.