Although fatigued driving is often viewed as a separate issue from distracted driving, the two are linked as a common road safety concern with overlapping attributes. By now, most people know that there are three main sources for distracted driving: Visual, Manual & Cognitive. Visual is when your eyes are not on the road, manual is your hands are doing something other than driving the vehicle (steering wheel, shifter, indicator) and cognitive is when your mind drifts away from the task of driving.
Texting and driving is by far one of the worst offenders of distracted driving because it involves all three areas of distraction: visual, manual and cognitive. Your eyes aren’t on the road, your hands are on the device and your mind is on the communication taking place. It’s the trifecta of road safety risks and is responsible for a significant amount of injuries and deaths throughout the globe.
In 2011, Transport Canada released a ‘Road Safety in Canada’ booklet which included information about fatigue as an impairment to safe driving. In 2010, the CCMTA estimated that as much as 20% of fatal collisions involve driver fatigue. This was calculated by eliminating other possible causes including alcohol impairment, speeding, and unsafe passing. Further, a 2007 survey reported that approximately 60% of Canadian drivers were willing to admit to driving while fatigued with a disturbing 15% admitting to falling asleep at the wheel within the past year.
In the U.S., the NHTSA estimates that “100,000 police-reported crashes are the result of fatigue each year. This results in approximately 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 Billion in monetary losses.” As with Canadian drivers, 60% of U.S. drivers admitted to driving while fatigued in the last year with 4% admitting that drowsy driving was the cause of a previous car crash [accident].
Choosing to drive while drowsy is not much different than choosing to text while driving or engage in other distracted behaviours at the wheel, including choosing to drink before driving…the risks just aren’t worth it.
Choices made when in control of a vehicle can be the difference between life and death, for you and others. Choose wisely.