At least 125 fatigue sleep events occur daily on NZ roads
A national roadshow, hosted by motorsport legend Greg Murphy and neuroscience educator Nathan Wallis, to improve truck driver safety in the transport sector by highlighting the dangers of driver fatigue and distraction on our roads, will visit eight New Zealand cities this year.
The #EYESUPNZ workshops are being delivered by vehicle safety and training provider AutoSense, who have analysed the data of 4,600 cameras installed in heavy and light vehicles on New Zealand roads and confirmed 125 verified fatigue sleep events occur while driving every day.
AutoSense CEO, Charles Dawson says the data is worrying not only for the frequency of sleep events but because they have significantly increased over the past year.
“Dangerously, New Zealand has more tired people in charge of light and heavy vehicles on our roads. Our Guardian by Seeing Machines cameras detect 125 events daily where car and truck drivers are falling asleep at the wheel, meaning the driver’s eyes are closed for 1.5 seconds or more. These fatigue events were recorded from September to November 2022. Alarmingly, they are up 32 percent on the previous year.
“The Guardian data is verified, which means someone has checked the camera footage. We are often told that you can’t measure fatigue and distraction – but that is exactly what this data is showing,” he says.
Dawson says the Guardian cameras are recording two peak daily fatigue times: 5 am and 11 am.
“Fatigue is one part of the safety issues we see on the cameras – the other is driver distraction. We know of the 4,600 vehicles being monitored, there have been at least 134 verified mobile phone events per day. These drivers have been viewing or talking on their mobile phones for some time while driving and not on hands-free! These mobile distraction events increased by almost 20 percent from September to November in 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
“We are committed to working with the transport sector to help reduce these fatigue and distraction events before they eventuate in crashes and fatalities. Our 2023 driver safety workshops will provide expert advice and tips to enable drivers and anyone involved in transport to prioritise road safety and life over death.”
Facilitated by road safety expert Kelly McLuckie from Success Formula, the workshops will commence on 14 March in Auckland, and travel to Hamilton, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch.
Says McLuckie,“Fatigue and distraction are a cultural problem in the transport and logistics sector; we need to help people realise that ‘professional’ drivers must identify risks like fatigue and distraction and then work to minimise or eliminate it. We can help managers to get that message across to their teams and make a positive change.
“Solving this challenge will need a change from everyone; leaders, dispatch, customers and drivers. We need to disrupt the system, which is still telling drivers to be safe - but hurry up.
“For example, why do drivers repeatedly tell us that most of the phone calls they get are from their own companies?”
McLuckie says the 3.5-hour #EYESUPNZ workshop will include a discussion with Nathan Wallis and Greg Murphy about the impacts of fatigue, sleep, and distraction, how the brain works and tips to help with driving safety problems in workplaces, followed by an interactive train-the-trainer session.
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