Dubbo drivers take fatigue seriously

DRIVERS at Dubbo have largely bucked the trend of a University of NSW study suggesting those on the road ignore fatigue.

The study tested 90 drivers to follow their awareness during a simulated drive, all of who refused to stop driving when fatigued.

Roads and Maritime Services recorded 3329 crashes as fatigue-related, something Ashleigh Reeves could relate to.

"It's a big killer," she said.

"My best mate was tired, and she drove off a cliff a month ago, she didn't make it."

Ms Reeves said it was a wake-up call and was conscious to stop for 30 to 45 minutes every few hours.

Glenda Vickers felt the same - as a regular long-distance driver, often visiting her daughter four hours away.

"I do stop, four hours is still a long way," she said.

"(But) people are in such a hurry, there's no stopping them is there?"

Toby Kendrick, a visitor to Dubbo who travelled by road across the country for work, said there were plenty of negative attitudes.

"People I know are addicted to those Monster drinks, and when they start to veer off the road they put the windows down, the stereo up and open one of those drinks and they think that solves the problem," he said.

"I'm terrified of other drivers, I make sure I pull over because I've seen it before."

Red P-plater Luke Jenkins had been rear-ended in an accident but knew to do the right thing.

"Most of the time I do stop and everyone I know does," he said.

The number of recorded fatigue-related crashes in NSW was almost double that of crashes involving alcohol.

Fatigue has also been shown as equivalent to being intoxicated in risky situations.

The Sydney Morning Herald spoke to Professor Ann Williamson from the Transport and Safety research group, who said there was always a choice for drivers to stop.

"Fatigue is an active decision that people make, and it's an unsafe one," she said.

Professor Williamson called for a change the "stop, revive, survive" campaign with the belief it no longer got through to drivers.

Centre for Road Safety general manager Marg Prendergast said in response there were no plans to update the campaign.

katina.vangopoulos@ruralpress.com

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