The Motor Accident Commission (MAC), with the support of the SA Country Fire Service (CFS), is urging drivers to give the State’s emergency service volunteer organisations a break this Easter, by taking a break themselves.
In launching its latest road safety message, Fatigue: Refresh your drive, MAC is encouraging drivers to rest every two hours to prevent the onset of driver fatigue. MAC General Manager Road Safety, Michael Cornish said that with fatigue estimated to be a contributing factor in 20%-30% of fatal and 15% of serious injury crashes, MAC’s Fatigue: Refresh your drive message provides drivers with a practical instruction to stay safe behind the wheel.
“Fatigue severely affects reaction times, concentration and the decision-making skills that are critical to driving safely,” Mr Cornish said. “We have deliberately timed this new message launch to coincide with Easter as this is the time of year many families travel on unfamiliar roads, at higher speeds and for longer periods – increasing their crash risk and placing enormous stress on emergency service workers who have to respond.”
CFS Deputy Chief Officer, Andrew Lawson said that it may come as a surprise to many that a large proportion of the hours committed by CFS volunteers are spent attending motor vehicle crashes. “Last financial year, CFS volunteers contributed 690,000 hours in emergency response time to South Australian communities. This included attending 2,258 vehicle related incidents,” Mr Lawson said. “Fatigue related crashes tend to be more severe, typically involve high speeds and cause significant distress to the volunteers that are required to attend these crash scenes.”
The Fatigue: Refresh your drive message focuses on the benefits of resting every two hours, as opposed to previous fatigue messaging which focused on the negative aspects of ignoring the fatigue warning signs. “Driving whilst fatigued can be as dangerous as driving drunk – with both activities affecting a driver’s ability to react. In fact driving fatigued can have the same shattering affect as driving with a BAC of 0.05,” Mr Cornish said.
The Fatigue: Refresh your drive message will feature across the MAC’s regional billboard network (52 billboard location across South Australia), on the regional intrastate bus fleet and will be supported by radio advertising.
The following road safety tips are provided as a guide to prevent the onset of driver fatigue:
Commence your trip following a good night’s sleep, and avoid setting off after a full working day.
Avoid driving more than 8-10 hours in any one day.
Avoid driving at times of the day you would normally be asleep (i.e. night).
Plan your trip to include regular breaks every two hours for 15 minutes or more.
If possible, share the drive by rotating drivers every two hours.
Drink water to keep hydrated.
Check the labels on prescription medicines that may affect your alertness or cause drowsiness. If this is the case, contact your pharmacist or local GP for advice.