Quantitative and qualitative study of NSW drivers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in relation to fatigue
Driver fatigue is a complex physiological and psychological state that cannot be quantified by external instrumentation at the roadside like speed or blood alcohol concentration. As such, there is currently no direct legislation for driver fatigue among light vehicles in NSW. With limited alternative countermeasures available to road safety practitioners to influence driver fatigue, understanding community attitudes and behaviours is critical in the development of effective public education campaigns. A quantitative and qualitative research study involving an online survey of 1000 NSW drivers and eight focus groups was conducted in 2012 to understand drivers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in relation to fatigue. Results indicate that drivers would rather ‘push on’ than stop for a break even though many have experienced a microsleep when driving or had a crash due to fatigue. While drivers recognise that driving fatigued is a crash risk, they identified numerous factors which influence their desire to continue driving; including an uncertainty about when their level of tiredness becomes a danger. Younger drivers in particular displayed risky fatigue related attitudes and behaviours and appear less likely to plan breaks in their journey than other drivers. Research from literature about driver fatigue was also reviewed and will be discussed, with consideration given to how the research will help future NSW countermeasures for driver fatigue.