By Mark Cartwright, Head of Vans and Light Commercial Vehicles, FTA
With fatigue a contributing factor in around 30 per cent of fatal incidents on the UK's roads, van drivers must understand the dangers of driving while drowsy; equally, employers must adopt a strict no tolerance rule. But with 40 per cent of all car, van and lorry drivers admitting to driving while tired, it is clear there is much more work to be done.
With the help of Marcus de Guingand, Managing Director of Third Pillar of Health, who spoke at our recent Van Excellence Operational Briefings, let's look at some of the ways fatigue can affect a person – both in the short and long term – and as you'll see, the symptoms go well beyond simply feeling drowsy:
- Reduced energy, alertness, vigilance and productivity
- Stress, mood shifts, irritability and strained relationships
- Daytime drowsiness and microsleeps
- Reduced vocabulary and poor communication skills
It is easy to see how fatigue can impact work performance, and in particular, our ability to drive safely. The Third Pillar of Health encourages any company whose employees operate vans to adopt a strict no tolerance approach to driving while tired. This should include intervening when a driver appears too tired to drive, and reviewing internal policies and procedures to ensure drowsy driving is prohibited and the ban maintained.
Of course, van drivers must also take responsibility for themselves; they can stay safe by spotting the warning signs of tiredness early – such as frequent yawning and eyelids drooping – and taking evasive action as soon as possible. For advice on how drivers can overcome tiredness while already on the road, please scroll down the webpage to our August blog.