Nearly all New Zealanders believe that driver fatigue is only about long distance travel, (and old people), and that because they are only travelling short distances that it does not apply to them (eg; it happens in Australia due to the long distance but not in New Zealand). The reality is that drowsy driving can (and often does occur on very short distances) and usually occurs on trips less than two hours duration and within a short distance from home. As crash stories reveal drowsy driving often occurs in cities and is a function of how sleep deprived a person is. The modern 24/7 lifestyle has been a large contributor to drowsy driving crashes. (Naturally, long distance driving is a drowsy driving risk factor along with many others risk factors).
AKILLA believes that this perception is made worse by the use of the word fatigue by itself . The term fatigue has different meanings to different people.
Fatigue has a distinct meaning in the research sense and clinical sense. Fatigue is a consequence of physical labour or a prolonged experience and is defined as a "disinclination to continue a task at hand¨, whereas "sleepiness" is most simply defined as the "inclination to sleep". An individual can be fatigued without being sleepy, but conditions that produce fatigue also expose underlying sleepiness. Therefore, many New Zealanders would think of physical and/ or mental exhaustion. New Zealanders have not yet been made aware of the main contributor. Namely; "sleepiness¨ caused by sleep deprivation (eg; caused by insufficient sleep, poor quality sleep, sleep disorders etc) which in both New Zealand and overseas has been shown to account for the majority drowsy driving crashes. FUTURE STRATEGIC DIRECTION
AKILLA has a much stronger preference to the terminology of "drowsy driving" rather than "driver fatigue"
In addition, there is a direct reference to driving in the terminology "drowsy driving" , which is an "unknown problem" by most New Zealanders due to the absence of education.
See over 40 drowsy driving risk factors detailed in the AKILLA " In the blink of an eye " (page 15 -25) These factors are wide and varied and most have little relationship to the way a lot of people define fatigue.
It was reported by the NCSDR/ NHTSA (U.S. Government road safety organisation) that before 1985 in the United States the driving literature made little mention of "sleepiness" and instead focused on the prevention of "fatigue" and "inattention".
NRC MEMBER RESPONSIBILITY.