How does fatigued driving affect traffic safety?
Fatigued drivers risk their own lives, the lives of other road users and even pedestrians. Lives are lost or severely affected by drivers in British Columbia who might not even realize that they are impaired by fatigue. Sufficient sleep is the primary way to prevent fatigue, but not enough rest is only one of the causes.
What are the causes of driver fatigue?
Lack of sleep causes fatigue. However, it can also result from long working hours, the time of day, prolonged driving, medication or alcohol consumption. Unlike drowsiness, fatigue does not necessarily cause the driver to fall asleep. It can also affect the driver in the following ways:
- Reduced focus and attention
- Slow reaction times
- Delayed decision-making abilities
- Delayed processes of decision-making
- The inability to recognize one’s own fatigue level
Common characteristics of fatigued drivers
Although any driver could suffer fatigue, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation reports the following drivers are more prone to it:
- Age group: between 16 and 24 years old
- Gender: Male
- Time of day: Drivers with the above characteristics who drive between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and from midnight to 7 a.m.
- Employment: Workers of long shifts when they would usually be asleep, and irregular shifts
Legal recourse for crash victims
Even though fatigued driving is a common cause of motor vehicle accidents in British Columbia and elsewhere, Canada has no specific laws to target these drivers, either civilly or criminally. Fortunately, financial and emotional damage recovery is possible for victims of these accidents, and the odds of success can significantly increase by obtaining experienced legal support.