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Why driver fatigue management will improve the safety of our roads and drivers

04 Apr 2014   |   Articles
Why driver fatigue management will improve the safety of our roads and drivers
Driver fatigue is one of the most dangerous factors affecting road safety in Australia. It doesn’t matter how experienced the driver is, under the strain of fatigue, driving becomes incredibly hazardous. It is estimated that fatigue contributes to around 30% of fatalities on Australian roads every year. 

Research has shown that the effects of alcohol mirror that of fatigue. Having no sleep for 17 hours will have the same effect on a driver’s ability as having a blood alcohol level of 0.05. After 24 hours drivers are known to have the same capacity as someone double the legal limit. 
Long haul and remote drivers spend long hours over consecutive days behind the wheel and are highly prone to fatigue, causing nightmares for fleet managers. However through the combination of an in vehicle monitoring system (IVMS) and the adherence to recommended journey management planning, this issue can be rectified.
What is journey management? 
Journey management’s aim is to make sure the driver reaches their destination safely; ensuring driver fatigue is well managed. It is important to be in regular contact (30 minute intervals between calls) with drivers to confirm that the journey is on track and that there are no signs of fatigue. If the vehicle is fitted with an IVMS system, these half hourly checks can be maintained without the need for driver intervention. Making sure drivers take the necessary breaks every 2 hours is paramount to the management of fatigue and safety.
Accompanied with an IVMS device such as Securatrak’s GO6 unit, a driver’s safety is increased. It allows for their exact location to be monitored at all times, and if were to take the wrong route an operator within a Journey Management Centre can get the driver back on track. Today’s IVMS solutions include accelerometer technology that an immediately identifies potential accidents via impact sensing. In the case of an emergency a driver can also activate a dash mounted duress button and remote duress pendant that can be escalated to the Journey Management Centre and the chain of command within the driver organisation. 
Securatrak are strong supporters of driver fatigue management and road safety, developing their own Journey Management Centre where customised JMC software and a highly trained team of operators monitor journey management plans of companies 365 days a year.  It is this management of fatigue that will be a deciding factor in improving the safety of Australian roads in the future.