The Road Ahead : August 2013
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 10 COMMUNITY | FEATURE THE ROAD AHEAD AUG/SEP 2013 IMAGE: SCENE FROM RACQ TV'S 'FATAL FIVE' SERIES. fatigue wake-up call RACQ TV'S LATEST VIDEO SHINES A LIGHT ON THE DANGERS OF DRIVING TIRED. STORY BELINDA PETERS RACQ TV HAS released the final video in the Fatal Five road safety series -- a look at the dangers of driving tired. Like the other members of the Fatal Five -- distraction, speed, alcohol and not wearing seatbelts -- fatigue is one of the biggest killers on Queensland roads but, unlike the others, police are almost powerless to control it. According to research from the Australian Transport Council, fatigue contributes to 20 to 30 percent of all deaths on the road, but it's thought that the role of fatigue in crashes is highly underestimated. RACQ's Media Communications Manager Joe Fitzgerald said that a reason for this is that fatigue affects driving skills long before we even realise we're tired. "Fatigue is such a hidden killer because many drivers are unaware they're experiencing its effects until it's too late," Mr Fitzgerald said. "By the time drivers are reaching for the energy drinks and cranking up the music in an effort to stay awake, their reaction time and peripheral vision is already being affected. Driving on less than five hours' sleep ... raises the risk of having a crash threefold... "When producing the video, we really wanted to draw motorists' attention to this fact in an entertaining, yet informative way." The facts revealed in the video, which draws on the expertise of Dr Geoffrey Eather from the Queensland Sleep Disorders Unit, present an eye-opening picture of the effect just a few less hours sleep can have on our safety behind the wheel. "It's not just people who have had no sleep that are putting themselves and others at risk -- the effects can also be felt from interrupted sleep and being awake for too long," Mr Fitzgerald said. "Driving on less than five hours' sleep in the previous 24 hours raises the risk of having a crash threefold and just being awake for 17 hours is the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent." The video combines factual information and expert opinion within a real life setting in the same relatable style used in the other RACQ TV Fatal Five videos on speeding, alcohol, seatbelts and distraction. "The Fatal Five videos are some of the most popular on our RACQ TV channel and we've received great feedback from members who've found the short videos have helped drive home these road safety messages." To watch all the videos in RACQ TV's Fatal Five Series, visit youtube.com/racqofficial and click on 'Safety First'.