Research carried out by road safety charity Brake and Cambridge Weight Plan shows one in eight drivers nod off at the wheel of a vehicle for between two and thirty seconds over the last year, in what is known as head nodding.
Head nodding often referred to by clinicians as micro-sleeps is a particular problem amongst young males with one in four 18 to 24 year-olds admitting to head nodding, with more than half of those spoken to admitting setting off on a journey when feeling tired.
“Tiredness at the wheel kills. Driving a vehicle is a huge responsibility that must be taken seriously. That means stopping when we feel drowsy and certainly never starting a journey tired. It’s a matter of life and death,” said Julie Townsend, Brake’s campaigns director.
A common cause for tiredness is sleep apnoea and is more common amongst commercial drivers . “Sleep apnoea is linked to body mass index, so overweight drivers should be particularly alert to the possibility of suffering from this disorder, but aware that it is treatable,” said Professor Tony Leeds, medical director for Cambridge Weight Plan
The Brake charity and bereaved families of driving crashes caused by tiredness will present the findings to MP’s, fleet and road safety professionals and civil servants at a Parliamentary reception. In order to call on the government to renew its efforts to raise awareness on driver tiredness and its possible consequences.