Driving tired is a killer. And with more stress and longer hours placed upon delivery drivers in the wake of the lockdown, these real risks need addressing.

A recent case at Nottingham Crown Court covered a case where 2 van occupants died after their van left the motorway around 5.30am and collided with a parked vehicle. Investigations showed that the driver had been driving and working for over 24 hours continuously in the period leading up to the collision.

The employers have been convicted of health and safety offences, with sentencing to follow.

This underlines the importance of setting clear rules and expectations for business drivers about fatigue. But what about other drivers – should we be concerned about them too?

Driver Risk, Fatigue and COVID-19

With the current lockdown, we could be forgiven for thinking that this couldn’t happen now, what with fewer vehicles on the road than previously. But is that realistic?

  • What about key workers doing 12hr shifts in stressful situations?
  • Some of those who are shift workers will be trying to catch up on sleep in the daytime – despite children playing outside, neighbours cutting grass and hedges, and people exercising
  • It’s boom time for couriers and delivery drivers during the lockdown, leading to busy delivery schedules creating time pressures and long days.
  • Have you considered those drivers suffering from illness, yet still needing to drive to the shops for essential food because they can’t get a home delivery slot? Illness and fatigue make a bad combination.
  • There will also be high numbers of people with financial worries, who are stressed and not sleeping well as their employers lay off workers or reduce salaries substantially.

More than ever, for every driver on the road, for whatever reason, it is even more important to allow for the mistakes that such tired drivers will make. Keep clear of other drivers and watch for their errors!

And for every employer with drivers on the road, being alert to signs of fatigue or stress in your employees is crucial, as well as setting clear expectations for all drivers to follow. You never know whose life you might save!

We’ve just launched our innovative Virtual Driver Awareness Training to help fill the gaps during the COVID-19 crisis. These low-cost virtual sessions are useful to ensure at-risks drivers get the training they need during times when normal in-vehicle training cannot go ahead. Find out more here.

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