Tired drivers spark new concerns for fleet managers

Safety is one of the biggest priorities for Australian fleet managers, especially as long-distance driving is so common among logistics companies. 

Whether it's long drives up the coast for a holiday or challenging inland journeys through the outback, the greater the distance travelled, the more alert drivers need to be. According to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics nearly 3 per cent of drivers travel between 50 and 100 kilometres to get to work. 

Fleet managers will need to take note of the findings premiered by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), which found that fatigue is still a significant factor for the country's road users. 

Fatigue issues strike young motorists

QUT's Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) investigated the way fatigue affects the country's drivers, finding that younger motorists, in particular, are more susceptible to these habits. 

Worryingly, young drivers aren't reacting to the concerns, with many unsure of the risks involved with operating vehicles while tired. The organisation discovered that driving while fatigued has similar results to excessive alcohol consumption. 

Despite this, Road Safety Researcher Chris Watling says the way young drivers respond to the two issues couldn't be further apart. 

"Research shows a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 per cent has the same effect as being awake for 17 hours, and a BAC of 0.1 per cent is roughly 20 hours, but drivers don't consider the impairment to be the same," he explained. 

CARRS-Q also revealed that both instances have a similar influence on the country's accident rate. In Queensland alone, alcohol factors in around 20 per cent of fatal accidents. For fatigue, this number decreases slightly to 15 per cent. 

Longer drives create challenges for fatigue

The issue of tired drivers is compounded by the fact that national commute times are on the rise, meaning motorists around the country are spending even more of their day behind the wheel. 

Regus found that Sydney is the home of the country's longest commute, with the average drive to the city clocking in at 31.7 minutes. Perth isn't far behind, forcing most of its drivers to spend half an hour getting to work. 

Comparatively, drivers in the nation's capital have it easy, with the average time just 17.4 minutes. 

CEO of Regus Australia and New Zealand Paul Migliorini provided advice for fleet managers looking to ease the pain of the morning rush. 

"Businesses should consider flexible work options to minimise the lengthening travel times employees are faced with," he said. 

"Examples include offering workers flexible hours to miss the peak hour rush and allowing employees to work from remote locations."

The issue of driver safety around Australia is defined by a range of concerns, with fatigue just one of many that affects road behaviour.