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AA Trust supported by DriveTech launches new drowsy driver campaign

DriveTech News, Press Articles

Don't let tiredness creep up on you. New AA Trust Drowsy Driver campaign supported by DriveTech launched

New research published by the AA Charitable Trust is helping to launch a nationwide campaign alerting drivers to the dangers of drowsy driving. DriveTech, part of the AA, are pleased to support this thought provoking and important campaign for all drivers, whether driving for business or pleasure. You can watch the video here (see below).

The research shows that :
  • One in eight (13%) UK drivers admit falling asleep at the wheel, and
  • Nearly two fifths (37%) say they have been so tired they have been scared they would fall asleep when driving

The latest road casualty statistics show drowsy drivers contributed to 53 fatal and 351 serious crashes in 2017 but it is widely accepted the true figure for fatigue related crashes is much higher due to under-reporting. In fact, it is estimated that up to 25% of fatal accidents are caused by drivers who have fallen asleep at the wheel. 

Which drivers are most at risk?
  • Men (17%) are three times as likely as women (5%) to say they have fallen asleep at the wheel
  • Young drivers, aged 18-to-24, are the most likely to say being very tired does not affect their driving ability (13% compared to 2% of all drivers)
  • Young drivers are also the most likely age group to say they normally carry on regardless if they feel tired while driving (18% compared to 3% of all drivers)
What do drivers affected by tiredness say?
  • Overall half (57%) stopped for a break as soon as they realised they might be too tired to drive (just 34% of 18-24-year olds said this)
  • A third (36%) said they felt fine when they started their journey and their drowsiness took them by surprise (higher among young drivers at 45% for 18-24-year-olds)
  • One in ten (11%) knew they were tired when they began their journey (29% of 18-24-year olds; 15% of women and 9% of men)
  • More than a fifth (23%) said they had been driving for more than two hours without a break when they were affected by tiredness (25% of men and 19% of women)
What reasons do drivers give for driving tired?

The top five reasons for driving tired are**:

  1. A long/hard day at work (39%)
  2. Monotony of the journey (33%)
  3. Late night driving (27%)
  4. Trying to cover too much distance in one day (27%)
  5. Lack of sleep the night before (26%)
Winding down a window won’t help

The AA Charitable Trust is calling on drivers to be alert to fatigue, reminding them that if they find themselves winding down the window or turning up the radio that these are a symptom of tiredness – and not an effective remedy.

If you find yourself doing these things you need to take it as a sign that you are too tired and need to stop at the next safe place; have two cups of coffee (or equivalent caffeinated drink) and nap for around 15 minutes. 

Research shows 17% of visitors say they felt tired when arriving at a motorway service station, but this fell to 11% on exit.

A thought-provoking advert

The campaign features a thought-provoking advert, created by adam&eveDDB, designed to wake drivers up to the dangers of fatigue. The ad shows a driver on a monotonous stretch of road at night. Various relaxation techniques are applied to him by a team of masseurs in a surreal representation of how tiredness can ambush drivers.

The ending snaps back to reality with a wide shot of the car, the driver asleep, no masseurs inside, veering to one side over the crest of a hill with oncoming headlights, and the payoff reads:

Don’t let tiredness creep up on you. Stop. Take a break

One of the most under-estimated risks on the roads

Edmund King, AA Charitable Trust director, said: “One quarter of fatal crashes are sleep related so drowsiness is one of the most under-estimated risks on the roads. Tiredness is a fact of life at some point for most of us and it is crucial we know how to manage it in relation to driving.

“Crashes involving a drowsy driver tend to be catastrophic. If a driver has fallen asleep at the wheel they do not brake before an impact and make no attempt to steer away from a collision.

“A driver who nods off for just three or four seconds on a motorway would have covered the length of a football pitch with closed eyes. A 30 second nap while travelling at 60mph covers half a mile; a terrifying thought.

“Simple measures can help alleviate the risks. Awareness of the problem is the first step, which is why we have launched this campaign and created an advert highlighting the dangers.

“Winding down the window, singing and turning up the radio are not remedies to tiredness – rather a symptom in themselves.

“If you feel tiredness creeping up on you when driving then stop and take a break.”

DriveTech, part of the AA with a focus on professional driver risk management, have a range of driving tips and advisories many of which are downloadable from the website. Check out our advisory on driver fatigue here.

To find out more about DriveTech's range of products and services to help UK and multinational fleets improve driver safety and make sure they are legal and efficient on the road, click here.

*    AA-Populus 11-17 September 2018. Online poll of 20,561 drivers
**  AA-Populus 11-24 January 2017. Online poll of 17,575 drivers
*** Transport Focus: Motorway Service User Survey 2018