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Loughborough Sleep Research Centre

Driver Education, 2003

Driver tiredness is one area that illustrates how terrifying falling asleep at the wrong time and in the wrong place can be. An accident, when on company business, can result in costs running into the millions, prosecution of the directors, and prison for the driver.

  • At least 20% of accidents on major, non urban roads are due to tiredness.
  • Many tiredness crashes are work-related.
  • Tired drivers kill more people than drink drivers.
  • At least 40,000 serious injuries and nearly 3,500 deaths occurred on our roads last year, due to drowsiness.

The most probable single cause of any truck crash is its driver falling asleep at the wheel, which is also the most likely reason for the vehicle being written off, together with its load. Moreover, there's a high chance that every truck will be involved in at least one sleep-related crash of some sort during its lifetime. The world renowned Loughborough team led by Professor Jim Horne undertakes quantitative and qualitative research for a wide range of clients.

Recent studies have shown that the most effective short term solution to driver tiredness is to stop in a safe place, drink a cup or two of strong coffee and to nap for about 15-20 minutes. Longer naps can leave you feeling groggy, so it is essential to limit sleep to this length.

Significantly the team has provided background research to support the Government's Think! Tiredness campaign in addition to a number of products designed to counter driver fatigue including the FTA's Fatigue Campaign.

Awake is the recently launched commercial arm of the research centre and has considerable expertise to help companies.

One of the hallmarks of the centre is its commitment to the development of innovative programmes, some of which are now becoming widely available. Two examples are:

  • The Driver Reviver - A scientifically researched tape or CD designed to help tired drivers make the best use of a 30 minute break from driving.
  • ASTID (Advisory System for Tired Drivers) Developed using a software algorithm that incorporates sound scientific research into driver sleepiness.

Contact: Paul Jackson, +44 (0) 20 7693 6166