The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) represents approximately 1.3 million members and is responsible for advocating on behalf of members on a range of motoring and road safety issues. As part of this role, RACV periodically conducts market research surveys exploring public attitudes and self reported behaviours related to a range of road safety related issues. This paper presents the results of a recent survey aimed at exploring public perceptions of fatigue and rest taking amongst Victorian motorists.
Fatigue is a major contributing factor in road trauma. Rest areas are provided along our major highways to encourage motorists to stop and take regular breaks or powernaps on long trips. RACV commissioned an independent market research specialist to explore motorist?s opinions of rest areas and rest taking. Through a series of focus groups and telephone questionnaires, the survey participants were asked to identify the extent to which they utilise these rest areas, which facilities they find most useful and those which they find lacking. The broader aims of the research were to determine the extent to which Victorians incorporate rest areas into their trip planning and what actions they take to avoid or manage driver fatigue.
The vast majority of respondents say that they take regular breaks when travelling on long distance trips. Approximately half of the sample claim to travel on trips where they plan their rest breaks beforehand and a small proportion claim to select their routes based on the rest areas available. They may stop for a combination of reasons including a rest break, powernap, food/drink and petrol, but they believe they are serviced well by the range of rest areas available on Victoria?s highway network. The survey also showed that driver age, trip purpose and the presence of passengers were all important factors in determining rest-taking behaviours.