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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Tackling tired drivers to keep death off the roads

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meg Munn MP urged policymakers and practitioners to take urgent steps to prevent tired drivers adding to the terrible toll of death and injury on our roads.


A Parliamentary event hosted by Meg highlighted new research by the charity Brake and the Cambridge Weight Plan which shows that one in eight drivers has “head nodded” at the wheel in the past year. This is when someone nods off for two to 30 seconds; often without realising they have been asleep. More than one in four drivers admitted to putting their own and others’ lives on the line by continuing a journey despite feeling drowsy.


Experts estimate that tired drivers cause one in five fatal crashes on motorways and other monotonous trunk roads. Crashes caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel tend to be high-speed crashes, because drivers do not brake before crashing, so the risk of death or serious injury occurring is greater than in other types of crashes.


Meg said:


“It is deeply worrying that so many tired drivers could continue to drive whilst drowsy, despite the terrible consequences that can result.”


Some simple steps could be taken to reduce the numbers of victims of tired driver crashes, such as raising awareness of driver tiredness as a major cause of death and serious injury, and improving motorway facilities so that responsible drivers are able to stop when they need to.”


Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake said:


“Tiredness at the wheel kills. Driving a vehicle is a huge responsibility that must be taken seriously. That means stopping when we feel drowsy and certainly never starting a journey when tired. It’s a matter of life and death.


We still have widespread misunderstanding of how to prevent driver tiredness, and ignorance about factors like sleep apnoea, a condition that can be treated. These messages need to get through to the public, which is why we are calling for renewed efforts from the Government to tackle this issue urgently.”


Brake’s Wake Up! campaign calls for education, enforcement and engineering measures to stop tired driving. Brake wants to see high profile awareness campaigns on this issue, more police patrols to spot tired drivers, and better and longer safety barriers to minimise the consequences of tired drivers crashing on motorways and trunk roads. For further information visit: www.brake.org.uk/take-action/wakeup.htm


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