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Emile Heskey

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Business drivers turn a blind eye to road safety

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

New research reveals the extent to which pressure to meet business targets post-recession is compromising road safety.

•  A fifth of business drivers* exceed the speed limit, and as many as one in ten drive through red lights to get to   appointments on time or meet targets.

  •  Sales reps are the most dangerous business drivers, but van drivers are more likely to ignore vehicle faults and haulage drivers are not given enough time to sleep between shifts.

  •  Business drivers in Scotland are more likely to drive dangerously for work purposes than any other region.

  •  Men driving for work purposes are significantly more likely to drive dangerously than women.

Apparently one in four business drivers are under pressure to get to appointments on time and meet ambitious sales or delivery targets, leading to dangerous and in some cases illegal driving practices.

The findings show that a fifth of business drivers exceed the speed limit, while one in ten drives through red lights, undertakes slow vehicles or drives when tired. In addition, as many as one in seven answers work calls while driving without using hands-free equipment, more than a third eat and drink on the move and a fifth smoke behind the wheel.

The study highlights real variations between genders, UK regions and types of business drivers. Men are far more likely to engage in dangerous practices than women when driving for work – for instance, they are twice as likely as women to send emails while at the wheel.

Sales reps are the most dangerous business drivers. More than half eat and drink on the move, while a fifth juggle driving with checking text messages and calendar appointments on a mobile device. A third also openly admit to breaking the speed limit.

* For the purposes of this study, ‘business drivers’ are defined as van, haulage, delivery and sales drivers.

Getting behind the wheel while you're tired is

'as dangerous as drink driving'

Research shows four hours sleep loss is the same as drinking a six pack of beer

2 June 2012

A French study has revealed that being sleepy behind the wheel is almost as dangerous as drinking and driving.

Researchers found drivers who were either drunk or sleepy were at least twice as likely to cause a vehicle accident as their sober or well-rested counterparts.

A team of experts in France analysed information from 679 drivers admitted to a hospital in southwestern France for more than 24 hours because of a serious accident.  They discovered that “Sleepiness carried almost as much risk as alcohol ingestion.”

The researchers used information from driver questionnaires and police reports between 2007 and 2009 to determine what may have contributed to the accidents.

They found that being between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, driving a car, drinking alcohol and being sleepy were all tied to an increased risk of causing an accident.

Christopher Drake, an associate scientist at the Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders and Research Center in Detroit, said:

'We know from experimental studies that just four hours of sleep loss will produce as much impairment as a six pack (of beer).  If you have a whole night of sleep loss, that's equivalent to having a blood alcohol content of 0.19.’

A blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent is considered legally drunk in most U.S. states.