Friday 26 August 2016, By AutoVolo
Motorists who got behind the wheel while tired were the cause of 119 deaths on UK roads in the past three years, a Freedom of Information request from online bed retailer Time4Sleep revealed.
The company, based in Huddersfield, discovered that driver fatigue was the cause of 3,050 accidents between 2013 and 2015, with 2014 alone witnessing 1,080 accidents relating to tiredness.
By comparison, 2013 saw 938 accidents occur because of driver fatigue, while 937 happened in 2015.
To further show the effects of fatigue on driver awareness, Time4Sleep conducted an experiment on 27-year-old triplets Robert, Stephen and Patrick Davis, who were given a full night’s sleep, an interrupted night’s sleep similar to that experienced by parents will a young baby, and no sleep respectively.
The trio then spent 90 minutes behind the wheel of a motorway driving simulator at a Transport Research Laboratory (TRL). They were instructed to drive at 60mph on the inside lane of a three-lane motorway. Factors such as reaction speed were monitored during the test.
Simon Tong, principal research scientist at TRL, said: “Rob, who had normal sleep, coped remarkably well with what was an incredibly monotonous motorway journey.
“Steve, who had interrupted sleep, was substantially worse and he showed very clear signs of fatigue during that journey.
“Pat, who had no sleep at all, was in a completely different league. It would actually be hard to describe him as even being awake.
“It really confirms a lot of what we know about fatigue. It tends to lead to very poor hazard awareness, poor judgement of situations, slow motor skills and responses, poor reaction times and generally really poor alertness.”
Jonathan Warren, Time4Sleep’s director, said: “Over 3,000 road traffic accidents related to driver fatigue is a tremendous number and it is something that can be so easily avoided.
“As a bed and mattress retailer, we know sleep is very important and affects our health and well-being. We wanted to conduct a study to find out the impact sleep deprivation can have on driving, to raise awareness of this important issue and encourage drivers to think twice before getting behind the wheel after experiencing lack of sleep.”
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