- Date: Wednesday 15th May 2019
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Statistics show that 40% of sleep related accidents involve a commercial vehicle, which may suggest that very few drivers are taking the necessary amount of rest and sleep that is required. A minimum of seven hours sleep is required, anything below that could increase the likelihood of being involved in an accident. Therefore, McCarron Coates, a specialist fleet transport insurance broker, says operators should view providing drivers with quality sleep as an integral and essential part of their risk management.
For example, drivers with five-six hours of sleep are 1.9 times more likely to be involved in accident, and drivers with only four hours or less are 11.5 times more likely to be involved in an accident, than those who have the required minimum of seven hours, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic.
Paul Coates, Co-Director at McCarron Coates, said that, “a sleep debate needs to be waged in the commercial transport sector, because turning a blind eye is all too frequent an occurrence. Lorry drivers and hauliers, in particular, seem to push the boundaries too far and too often, hoping they will not be fined, at home and abroad, for cab-based sleep. Sometimes, no other option presents itself to the driver and at other times it’s purely about saving the pennies. Either way, they take a huge risk by bedding down for the night in their vehicle, in more ways than one.”
“Trying to sleep in such conditions leads to serious sleep deprivation and that is the enemy of risk management on the road. Trying to cut corners by not paying for accommodation for a driver can easily lead to incidents that destroy an operator’s claims history and wipe out any cost benefit derived from having drivers sleep on board the vehicle.
“Additionally, operators taking this huge risk can be faced with other implications, such as prolonged sickness absence as a result of drivers suffering from mental health and physical conditions.
Heart disease, type-2 diabetes and a weaker immune system are just three of the physical issues that can be caused by not getting enough sleep, but when you add mental health problems to this, operators are creating longer-term issues for themselves by not sticking to what the law expects to see happen with regard to driver sleeping conditions and the duration of sleep.”
McCarron Coates advises fleet managers to plan routes and schedule in accommodation for drivers to encourage them to rest.
There are many things that we can do to ensure that we stay safe on the road. Ensure that you get plenty of rest and take a break if you get tired; have regular eye tests and report all driving related incidents. Ensure your vehicle is in good working order; regularly check fluid levels, tyres, brakes and lights and replace worn wiper blades. Always plan your journey to allow sufficient time and check weather and traffic conditions. For more information on how you can support your employees and stay safe on the road contact our Customer Service Team on 01752 201616.