Dangers of driving while tired still ignored

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Many motorists are complacent about driving while tired and the Government must do more to educate them about the dangers, a road safety charity has warned.

Brake also called for safety measures on Britain’s roads to be reviewed to lessen the risk of another tragedy like the Great Heck disaster.

The charity’s spokeswoman Kath Hartley said: “Ten years on from the tragic Selby rail crash, we know that there is still widespread complacency and confusion among drivers about the effects of fatigue upon driving.

“We desperately need to raise awareness about the dangers associated with driving while tired, so we are calling on the Government for more educational campaigns on the topic, and also a review into safety measures on our roads such as rest stops and safety barriers.

“Our advice to drivers is to get plenty of sleep the night before a journey, and if you start to feel sleepy while driving, stop for a 15-minute break somewhere safe as soon as possible.

“Above all, never begin a journey if you’re tired – doing so could have fatal consequences.”

Chief Insp Mark Iveson, of North Yorkshire Police, who attended the crash scene in 2001, said: “Something like one-quarter or one-fifth of accidents in this country can be attributed to sleep deprivation but, unlike drink driving, there isn’t the general acceptance of the dangers it can cause.

“Because of cases like Great Heck people are slightly more aware now, but I don’t think that it is deemed as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

“It remains a big problem.”