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Fatigue Management important for fleets

2 April 2020

A widely reported case has led to renewed call for fleets to adopt fatigue management policies after Renown Consultants is found guilty of health and safety breaches.

Renown Consultants was found guilty of breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act in relation to the deaths of two drivers it employed at Nottingham Crown Court , last week.

Zac Payne, 20, and Michael Morris, 48, died following a crash at around 5.30am on June 19, 2013, when Payne fell asleep at the wheel of a company van while driving back to his employer’s Doncaster depot after a night shift in Stevenage.

The vehicle veered off the motorway, crashing into a parked van. He had been on the road since the 4.30am the previous morning, when he had driven to Alnmouth, Northumberland, to carry out welding work which didn’t materialise.s

During the return journey to Doncaster, he was allocated a further job in Stevenage and, collecting Morris to help, set off from the depot at 7.18pm before arriving at the site at 9.47pm. Both men started the work at 11.15 pm, completing it at 3.40am before heading back to Doncaster.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) told the court that Payne was suffering the effects of fatigue and may have fallen asleep at the wheel or experienced what were described as “microsleeps”.

 In its report Fleet News quotes Paul Hollick, co-chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals as saying: “This is the first prosecution for van driver fatigue of which we are aware and it is a very worrying case. 

“There was a complete breakdown of fleet management health and safety. The driver had been at work for more than 24 hours, creating a hugely risky situation that should never have occurred.”

Advice to managers on how to manage driver fatigue is available on the new Resources Section of the Driving for Better Business web site.

Transport and driver fatigue is a particularly common cause of work-related road traffic collisions resulting in injury or death.

The Road Safety Observatory offers information concerning driver fatigue on its comprehensive website which provides easy access to the best independent road safety research.

Fatigue accounts for up to one fifth of accidents on major roads, yet many people do not see this as a serious problem.

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