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Scary stats about sleepy drivers

16 May 2013

Business Champion ALD Automotive reports that an insurance industry survey of over 2,500 drivers, suggests that the UK motorists cover a terrifying 55,000 each year while they are asleep at the wheel.
The research by PCP discovered that 9% of drivers (3.4 million if extrapolated to the whole population of drivers) admitted to nodding off for an average of 1.17 seconds, while they had been travelling at average speed of 50mph, meaning each had driven around 26 metres or 55,000 miles in total.

The top reasons given were monotonous roads (48%), medication (33%) lacking sleep (25%) with one in ten people citing "holiday driving". 33% admitted to being consciously aware they might soon be unconscious, having started their journey's feeling drowsy and 20% claimed they were "hardly able to keep their eyes open while driving."

It is estimated that sleeping drivers could be responsible for up to 170,000 accidents last year, but the vast majority appear to have gone un-reported. Figures, obtained under Freedom of Information, reveal that only 3,357 fatigue related incidents were reported last year. These figures are thought to be low due to a limited number of forces being able to provide the data, but even a modelled number of around 11,000 fatigue related incidents (assuming average levels nationwide) seems the tip of the iceberg versus the PCP findings. 

Factors that can increase the risk of a driver being involved in a tiredness-related crash should be taken into account when developing policies to prevent driver tiredness. Further advice is available here.

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