AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

Research Finds That One Out of Every Six Drivers Has Fallen Asleep Behind the Wheel

The shocking results of a new survey by SmartWitness have identified that one out of six drivers has at least once dozed off behind the wheel. Almost half of the remaining motorists have actually admitted driving while feeling drowsy, leaving them in danger of dozing off.

Nearly half of all survey participants admitted to being dangerous both to themselves and others on the road as a consequence of driving while tired at points after getting licensed.

The issue seems to be worse among men than women.

In a survey carried out after a CPC theory test, it was found that roughly 1 in 10 women admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel, whereas a quarter of all men did so. Nearly 90 percent of drivers report driving whilst tired since it’s necessary for their work or home life.

Just under half of the drivers stop for a break when they get tired, as suggested by the Government.

How to Avoid Dozing Off?

Opening a car window was the most registered method nearly half of drivers used to fight off exhaustion while driving, while over a third relied on coffee and a quarter chewed gum. 16 percent turned up their radios, and 12 percent blew cold air out the vents.

SmartWitness has put together an innovative new system which recognises when a driver’s attention isn’t on the road, sending out alerts to hopefully wake him or her up. Sitting on the dashboard of cars, vans, and HGVs, the DDC100 unit measures approximately 8cm long and 7cm in height. The device utilises facial recognition software in order to detect moments when the eyes of the driver are not on the road for periods of more than three consecutive seconds. In such instances, the technology emits an audible alert. When a connection to any fleet management system is active, the alert can also advise a fleet manager that one of their drivers is lapsing into fatigue. DDC100 units are also able to recognise when drivers use mobile phones behind the wheel or get distracted for various other reasons.

SmartWitness is the leading vehicle CCTV firm in the UK, and it surveyed a thousand motorists, finding that roughly 17 percent of them had reported falling asleep while driving.

How Does Sleep Affect Your Driving?

The survey also discovered that nearly half of all respondents weren’t averaging the recommended 7 to 8 hours of nightly sleep.

Also, 85 percent of respondents reported a minimum of one bad night of sleep per average week. They also reported driving vehicles on more than half the days they slept poorly. Business drivers, in particular, are susceptible to such dangers, given their growing work hours and hectic schedules.

Some estimates place driver fatigue as a contributing factor behind 20 percent of driver deaths per year.

Additionally, collisions related to tiredness have tripled chances of involving a fatality or serious injury given drivers not avoiding them and the high speeds of impact involved.

Paul Singh is the chief executive of SmartWitness, and he has gone on record as stating that driver fatigue is one of the most fatal factors on UK roadways, urging increased awareness to this road safety issue.

Rise in Online Shopping a Factor

He claims that increased demands for Internet deliveries has meant more drivers operating vehicles while drowsy or at risk of actually nodding off. This can prove as dangerous to other motorists as using a mobile phone at the wheel or drink driving.

Singh urges employers to recognise this issue and implement new devices to identify staff members who don’t have the energy or attention to drive safely, providing drivers alerts so they know on their own.

The DDC100 unit isn’t the only SmartWitness option available, as it also offers a new SmartGuard system available to fleet clients who can have all of their drivers monitored from a professional call centre. This happens in real-time in order to isolate fatigue issues and respond to them before an accident happens.

SmartGuard-monitored drivers are covered by numerous telematics indicators which identify things like tailgating and abrupt braking. Driver distraction technology now provided additional insights into driver safety.

Fleet managers can now pinpoint problem drivers before they spend too many hours on the roadways, adjusting their training as need be. With luck, enough businesses will utilise such options in order to save lives and money.