A survey done by SmartWitness shows that at least 15% of drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel at least one or more times. Over 40% of drivers have said that they have driven even though they felt drowsy and knew they were at risk of temporarily nodding off behind the wheel. Almost half of the motorists said that they felt they had been a danger to themselves or others when driving because of being too tired.
Men Are More Likely to Drive When Too Tired Than Women Are
Almost 1/4 of men have fallen asleep while driving compared to only 10% of women. Almost 90% of drivers admit that at one point or another they have driven when tired because of work or family. Less than half of these drivers say that they stop to take a break when they feel tired. Almost half of the drivers say that they have rolled down the window to help them stay awake. Other activities that drivers use to keep themselves awake at the wheel includes chewing gum, drinking coffee, or turning the radio up with some of their favourite music.
There is now a new system made by SmartWitness that is able to identify a driver whose eyes are no longer on the road and it will sound an alarm to wake him up when this happens. The name of the system is DDC100 and it is made to sit directly on the dashboard and is suitable for HGVs, Vans, and of course cars. The system uses software that is able to understand when the driver’s eyes have looked away from the road for a length of time that exceeds 3 seconds.
If this happens for a private vehicle the alert system lets the driver know with an alarm and when it is part of a commercial fleet the system is also designed to alert the management of the company so they are aware that the driver is fatigued. This technology is also made to understand when a driver might be using a cell phone or is somehow distracted because of other reasons and the system can then notify the commercial company management and make them aware of these facts.
SmartWitness is among the leading CCTV firms in the UK and while conducting a survey that included over 1,000 drivers it was found that close to 20% of them had fallen asleep at the wheel. This survey also learned that close to half of those who participated in the survey did not get the seven to eight hours of sleep that is recommended. It was also determined that well over 80% of those that volunteered for the survey would have at least one more nights a week where they were not able to get a restful night’s sleep.
Most said that they still needed to drive a vehicle even after having a bad night sleep. It was found that those who drive for business or commercially were more susceptible to these situations because of their hectic schedules and the fact that many of them had long work hours. According to some statistics, it is believed that at least 1/5 of deaths that occur in driving accidents are caused by one or both of the drivers being fatigued.
It is estimated that the likelihood of death in a car accident caused from driver fatigue increases the likelihood that the accident will be a high-speed impact and because a driver was asleep at the wheel they took no action to avoid the accident. The chief executive of SmartWitness has been quoted as saying that this type of situation is responsible for a significant amount of the deaths that occur on our roads and is a major threat to the safety of others on the road.
Professional Drivers Often Under Pressure
HGV Class 2 licence drivers are often under increased pressure to complete deliveries due in part to the internet and this is pushing those drivers to driving even when they’re tired or drowsy and at risk of going to sleep behind the wheel. The danger of this is considered as great as it would be if someone were drunk driving or if they were distracted by talking on their cell phone. For this reason, it is said that it is vitally important that employers put technology into place that can identify when a driver is too tired and can alert them of this fact so that they can take appropriate actions.
When a company invests in the DDC100 it means that they have a way to monitor their drivers in real time and management can identify problems like fatigue and make necessary changes to alleviate the problem. When a company uses this type of system it means that their fleet of drivers are monitored using several different indicators that not only include identifying when they fall asleep at the wheel but when they break abruptly or when they tailgate and other distractions that are a good indicator that they are not driving safely. This technology can be used to identify drivers who might be having problems so that the management can make adjustments or give the driver additional training to alleviate the issue.