One In Five Drivers 'Have Fallen Asleep At The Wheel'

Fatigued Motorists Are Putting People's Lives At Risk

25.10.2013

One in five UK drivers has fallen asleep at the wheel, a new report has estimated.

Findings published by Post Office Car Insurance, based on a poll of 2,001 people, suggested that 19 per cent of motorists have drifted off while driving - potentially putting their own lives, as well as those of their passengers and other road users at risk.

The research indicated that men are almost twice as likely to fall asleep than women, with 25 per cent of males admitting they have struggled to stay awake while driving.

Three in ten drivers who said they had fallen asleep revealed they did so on a motorway, meaning they could have been travelling at speeds up to 70 mph at the time.

Some 195,723 people were injured in road accidents in the UK in 2012, according to official statistics.

Although this was a four per cent reduction on the previous year, the Government is concerned that far too many crashes are still being reported - many of which are caused by tired drivers.

The Post Office Car Insurance research found that 49 per cent of motorists said they will drive when they feel fatigued. One in seven motorists do this at least once a week.

Around one-third of road users have been involved in an incident - ranging from missing a pedestrian crossing to hitting another vehicle - because their concentration levels were not up to scratch.

Head of insurance at the Post Office Paul Havenhand said people should avoid getting behind the wheel if they are tired, or they could be responsible for a fatal accident.

"There is no measurement for tired driving unlike driving while under the influence of alcohol, yet it could result in an accident that is just as dangerous," he remarked.

"Roads can be hazardous enough as it is, without drivers putting themselves or others at risk by setting out when their concentration has been impaired."

Drivers are advised to take a 15-minute break from travelling every two hours in order to prevent fatigue, but just 31 per cent of motorists follow these guidelines.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a road traffic accident, our personal injury claims team could help to get the compensation, rehabilitation and support you deserve. Visit our Road Traffic Accident Compensation page for more information.

Expert Opinion
These are very worrying statistics and I would urge all road users to ensure they always take care when travelling, for their own sake and also for the sake of other motorists and pedestrians.

"Having seen first-hand many cases in which people have suffered life-changing injuries as a result of road accidents, we know that safety failings on the road can have significant consequences.

"There is a role for technology here to alert drivers to their drowsiness, for example reduced pressure applied to the steering wheel, although that’s no substitute for an alert driver."
Neil Whiteley, Partner