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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 10:28 GMT
Campaign targets driver fatigue
Advertising campaign
The campaign will urge tired motorists not to drive
The deadly consequences of falling asleep at the wheel are being highlighted in a hard-hitting road safety campaign.

Signs on motorways will urge drivers to "Think Don't Drive Tired".

Falling asleep when driving could be a factor in 10% of all road accidents according to government research.

This comes as nearly nine out of ten motorists questioned in a separate survey admitted to driving when too tired.

Sleepy drivers
Sleepy drivers kill 300 people a year in the UK
90% of motorists admit driving when too tired
50% of motorists would drive for 10 hours a day
10% of road accidents are linked to falling asleep

Road safety groups have welcomed the 750,000 government initiative.

Road Safety Minister David Jamieson said falling asleep when driving could be a factor in as many as 300 deaths and many thousands of injuries each year.

"Falling asleep at the wheel is something which could happen to any driver, of any age on any journey," he said.


The government campaign launched on Wednesday will also feature television and radio advertising, posters and leaflets.


Elsewhere more than half of 500 drivers surveyed said that they would not consider breaking a 10-hour journey with an overnight stop.

East Midlanders are the most responsible about taking breaks during long journeys, the poll published on Wednesday by hotel company Premier Lodge found.

The horrific (rail) crash at Selby illustrates just how catastrophic the consequences of driving when too tired can b

Kevin Clinton

Of those drivers 77% said they have more than three breaks on long journeys.

The Selby train crash, in which ten people died, brought the issue centre stage.

Driver Gary Hart was jailed for five years for causing death by dangerous driving.

A jury decided in December that Hart had fallen asleep at the wheel of his Land Rover before it plunged off the M62 into the path of an oncoming train.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "The horrific (rail) crash at Selby illustrates just how catastrophic the consequences of driving when too tired can be."

Government campaign
The consequences of falling asleep at the wheel is graphically illustrated

The RAC's campaigning arm, the RAC Foundation, welcomed the government safety campaign.

It said the government intended to follow its suggestion of introducing more rest and recreation areas along motorways and trunk roads.

Executive director Edmund King said: "The dangers of falling asleep at the wheel were brought to the public's attention by the Selby rail tragedy.

"This high-profile publicity campaign will ensure that more motorists are made aware of the tragic road accidents that fatigue can cause," he said.

If you have suffered from driver fatigue tell us your experiences.

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Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
The BBC's Simon Montague
"More drivers need to be aware of the problem"
Road Safety Minister David Jameson
"People ought to plan the journey"
See also:

27 Mar 02 | UK
Tales of fatigue at wheel
05 Apr 01 | Health
Drink and tiredness cause crashes
20 Feb 02 | Scotland
Experts study risks of dozy drivers
13 Dec 01 | England
Driver fatigue: A big killer
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