Nigel Moffiet, Editor - TransportTalk
A national roadshow highlighting the dangers of driver fatigue and distraction rates in the road transport industry has kicked off.
Hosted by motorsport champion Greg Murphy, neuroscientist Nathan Wallis, and road safety expert Kelly McLuckie, the the Eyes Up NZ workshops are visiting eight New Zealand cities with the goal of improving commercial vehicle driver safety.
The first sold-out event took place in Auckland on March 14 with over 150 attendees and it has since visited Hamilton and Palmerston North with a workshop in New Plymouth today.
The workshops are being delivered by vehicle safety and training provider AutoSense and follows recent data showing an alarming year-on-year increase of drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
The company analysed the data of 4600 cameras installed in heavy and light vehicles on New Zealand roads and confirmed 125 verified fatigue sleep events occur while driving every day.
The fatigue events were recorded from September to November 2022 and were up 32% on the previous year. The Guardian cameras are recording two peak daily fatigue times: 5am and 11am.
The workshops are being attended by transport industry professionals and drivers with conversations and tips around how to tackle fatigue. Related topics include the brain and driving, sleep, stress and distraction.
Attendees are encouraged to write down their goals and ideas for managing the risks of fatigue in the workplace and this is followed with conversations around the room. It also explores ways on how to run a great work ‘toolbox meeting’ with clear communication and objectives.
AutoSense chief executive Charles Dawson says fatigue is one part of the safety issues seen on the cameras – the other is driver distraction.
“We know of the 4,600 light and heavy 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.
“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 driver safety workshops provide expert advice and tips to enable drivers and anyone involved in transport to prioritise road safety and life over death,” Dawson says.
Upcoming workshops take place in Dunedin on May 11 and Christchurch on May 17.
Go to eyesupnz.co.nz for tickets and more information.