A recent Austroads study (RS.SS.N.018) identified fatigue as a major contributing factor to rural and remote crashes, and recommended that research be undertaken to address this issue. As a result ST1347 was initiated to identify innovative treatments that have potential as fatigue countermeasures, to identify the effectiveness of these treatments, and to provide information to practitioners about where they might be used.
The fatality rate is high in fatigue related accidents, as the driver often does not brake or swerve. However, fatigue is not simply falling asleep at the wheel. It includes, and results in, drowsiness, loss of alertness, bad mood, impaired reaction time, impaired decision making capacity, microsleeps and memory problems. All of these can have a significant impact on driving performance and crash risk; often impacting long before falling asleep at the wheel.