Needless to say, driving under the influence of drugs unsurprisingly massively affects your abilities to do so safely. In addition to this, it is also even much less surprisingly illegal along with drink driving, adding up to a minimum 12-month driving ban and up to 6 months in prison since March 2015. However, there are a number of things that adversely affect your driving that we do every day that aren’t illegal, and by far the most deadly is driving while tired or deprived of sleep.
According to figures released by the Department for Transport for 2015, 20% of all road accidents on the UK’s major roads are caused by fatigue, compared to only 18% having been caused when the driving is impaired by drug taking. It was also a major contributory factor in 68 deaths, 435 serious injuries and a further 2,279 minor injuries. However, while you may see the occasional ‘Tiredness Kills, Take A Break’ sign on the motorway, there is no current formal legislation against driving while fatigued.
Research has shown that the majority of accidents that occur as a result of fatigued driving is between midnight to 8:00am, when it is most likely to be affected by drowsiness. And many are now calling for driving while sleep deprived or fatigued along with drugs and alcohol due to the quickly emerging trends in it’s dangers. These have come because that the decision to drive, or continue to drive, when feeling tired or deprived of sleep is a conscious decision made by the driver, and therefore any issues that this causes are undoubtedly the fault of the driver’s condition.
A spokesperson from scrapcarcomparison.co.uk, a car scrapping comparison site, has expressed their astonishment that more isn’t being done to introduce legislation to curb the affects. “When you think one in five crashes is fatigue related, this has to make people sit up and take notice. Just as there are rules for consuming an excessive amount of alcohol, should there be a case for restrictions on driving where the driver has had less than set minimum hours of sleep in the past 24 hours?”
The effects of sleep deprivation have been explored on the popular show ‘MythBusters’ showing how poorly driving becomes after a lack of sleep, and how much it lowers your reaction time, alertness and concentration, leading to some potentially deadly consequences behind the wheel. What are your opinions, should there be a minimum amount of sleep had before you drive?