The Road Ahead : October November 2007
Fight against fatigue TWO Australian studies at worldsleep07, the congress of the World Federations of Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine Societies, in Cairns last month highlighted the problem of fatigue on the roads. University of Queensland researchers studied the hazard perception skills of experienced and inexperienced drivers at 10am and 3am, via a video driving simulator. Their paper (Sleepiness and Hazard Perception while Driving in Experienced and Inexperienced Drivers) revealed inexperienced drivers were much slower at detecting driving hazards, especially when they were sleepy. Dr Mark Horswill said the reactions of experienced drivers were largely unchanged at day or night. By comparison, novice drivers were 0.3 sec slower during the day and 0.7 sec slower to react at night. At 60 km/h, a sleepy novice would need an extra 12.8 m to star t braking. Another paper presented by five Victorian researchers suggested that 55 percent of drivers involved in vehicle crashes could have been affected by several sleep-related risk factors. Their study (A Comparison of Possible Sleep Related Crashes with Driver Self Repor t of Risk Factors For Sleepiness) of 29 drivers found sleep-related crashes could be four times more prevalent than currently measured. Your car will know JAPANESE car company Nissan has unveiled a concept car able to 'snif f out' whether a driver has been drinking, through the use of several cutting-edge technologies. Nissan has fitted a high-sensitivity alcohol odour sensor into the gear knob to measure for the presence of alcohol in the perspiration of a driver's hand and has additional sensors in the seats to measure air quality. Other par ts of the system include a facial recognition system that uses a camera in the instrument cluster to monitor for signs of drowsiness and a computer that works out if the vehicle is being operated irrationally. The multi-faceted systems can lock the transmission to immobilise the car, can issue aler ts through the car's navigation system or via a voice aler t and can even tighten the seatbelts around the driver to gain their attention. SIX PACK: Milestones in Queensland's road safety history RACQ acts on fuel prices 1. 1967 -- demerit points licensing scheme introduced. 2. 1972 -- wearing seatbelts becomes compulsor y. 3. 1988 -- random breath testing introduced. 4. 1991-- bicycle helmets become compulsor y, penalty introduced in 1993. 5. 1997 -- speed cameras introduced. 6. 1999 -- introduction of 50 km/h speed limits on local streets. Source: Queensland Transpor t. OCT/NOV 07 5 Koala capers Amorous koalas will continue to roam near roads and be more active at night, as their breeding season continues until Februar y (not September as previously advised by the EPA). If you injure a koala, contact a local wildlife rescue group or the EPA hotline on 1300 130 372. RACQ put for ward members' concerns about regional petrol prices at the ACCC inquir y on fuel prices, which was held in Townsville in August. General manager external relations Gar y Fites said the Club's aim was to see fuels supplied at reasonable and competitive prices that reflect the local supply and demand situation, as well as underlying international price benchmarks. He said there had been two occasions in the past nine months that petrol prices in regional Queensland centres had continued to climb well after clear downturns in the Singapore benchmark price. "To the RACQ, this anomaly does not constitute 'fair and reasonable' pricing," Mr Fites said. The RACQ has also welcomed the State Government- commissioned inquir y into why the full benefits of its 8.3 cents a litre fuel subsidy are not being passed on to all Queensland motorists. The Club will be making a contribution to the inquir y to ensure that Queensland motorists obtain the maximum possible value from the subsidy. RACQ continues to strongly defend the fuel subsidy scheme which, if abolished, would mean Queensland fuel prices would automatically rise by nine cents a litre.
December January 2008
August September 2007