Queensland motoring body RACQ has expressed its frustration at the number of lives being lost to fatigue, and ahead of the school holidays has pleaded with motorists to stop driving tired.
With many families heading away for the September break, RACQ has warned motorists of the dangers of fatigue, which contributed to 31 road crash fatalities in Queensland last year – almost 15 percent of the State’s road toll.
RACQ Executive Manager Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said most motorists knew about the dangers of drink driving and speeding but were often unaware or underestimated the risk of fatigue.
“As a society we’re only just becoming aware of how much fatigue impacts motorists. It can drastically affect your ability to drive safely by reducing your attention level, slowing your reaction time and impairing your judgement,” Mr Spalding said.
“One of the scariest things about driver fatigue is that people might not know how tired they are until they make a mistake.”
Mr Spalding said unlike the other fatal five risks – distraction, speed, alcohol and not wearing a seatbelt – it was almost impossible to police fatigue.
“Driving fatigued isn’t just about falling asleep at the wheel. Your ability to drive safely is already affected before your head starts to nod,” he said.
“Motorists need to take this seriously, and realise the responsibility to drive safely lies with them.
“If you’re taking a driving holiday, don’t put your family at risk by starting a trip when you’re not feeling fresh. Never underestimate the impact a long day at work will have on your driving.
“Also, incorporate time to rest into your travel plans, ensure you’ve had enough sleep in the lead up to your trip, avoid long stretches behind the wheel and where possible avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep. It could save your life.”