Dead Tired: Fatigue Related Crashes on National Route 39
Fatigue related crashes represent a significant social and economic cost to the community, as it is one of the primary contributing factors of road crashes. However the examination of fatigue crashes is often problematic as there is no universal definition of fatigue and it is difficult to objectively measure the degree of driver fatigue following a crash. Therefore the Australia Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has constructed an operational definition of a fatigue related crash. The definition is based on a set of well research selection criterion and uses crash characteristics routinely collected by different traffic authorities. The objective of this study is to test the ATSB operational definition of fatigue and to monitor the trends of fatigue related crashes on National Route 39, which is a major transport corridor between Brisbane and Melbourne. This study found that, there was a small increase in the number of fatigue related crashes from 12% in 1995 to 14% in 1999. The ATSB definition was found to be both practical and possesses face validity. Therefore the definition could be used to study and monitor fatigue related crashes in other contexts or on other specific routes.