Ministers Launch Safely Home Fatigue Management Campaign
Late on Friday night the Ministers joined traffic officials at the campaign's first roadblock on the N1 outside Laingsburg to monitor driver fatigue, whilst also focusing on traffic law enforcement. (See photo attached. Additional photos available on request).
The check point was set up from 6pm to 2am on the N1 between Beaufort West and Cape Town, a road which carries an average of forty thousand (40 000) trucks, twenty thousand (20 000) light motor vehicles and ten thousand (10 000) public transport vehicles per month.
Two (2) privately owned buses were grounded after it was found that the one bus driver did not have an operators licence and the other did not have the correct licence for the bus he was driving. A driver was arrested for drunk driving and fifty eight (58) fines were issued during the night.
A total of two hundred and eighty six (286) vehicles were stopped and forty nine (49) drivers were screened for alcohol.
The MECs also heard first hand accounts from traffic officials and drivers about the effects of fatigue and handed out pamphlets and bottled water to drivers.
During June and July provincial and local traffic authorities will set up similar roadblocks across the Western Cape to screen drivers for fatigue and to promote awareness of the risks involved.
Minister Max said the province's Safely Home strategy identifies driver fatigue as one of the main areas of driver behaviour that needs to be addressed in order to reach the 2014 target of halving road deaths in the province.
"Provincial government has many combined efforts in place to ensure road safety and this is another essential component. In terms of law enforcement driver fatigue is very hard to manage and that's why we need the public to be constantly made aware of the signs and the prevention measures so to take responsibility when they get behind the wheel," said MEC Max.
Minister Carlisle highlighted that driver fatigue must be acknowledged as a real and unacceptable safety risk.
"The biggest mistake many drivers make is not to rest when they are tired, especially when driving long distances, but to rather continue driving thinking they are fit to drive when they are not. Many truck and public transport drivers are not aware of the dangers of fatigue. We want to alert them to these dangers in order to save lives on our roads." said Minister Carlisle.
Signs of driver fatigue:
- You keep yawning,
- Your reactions inadvertently speed up or slow down.
- Your body feels stiff and your eyes heavy.
- You find you are daydreaming,
- You car wanders over to the centre line or onto the edge of the road,
- You don't remember driving the last few kilometers or cannot remember the last few minutes or seconds.
Key prevention measures:
- Plan your journey. Schedule regular breaks and stop over to stay the night on long journeys.
- Try not to drive when you would normally be asleep (early mornings and late nights).
- Don't work a full day and then drive long destinations without getting any rest/sleep.
- Adjust driving seat to an upright position is to ensure the base of your wrists can make contact with the top of the steering wheel.
- Share the driving whenever possible.
- Rest when you are not driving. A power nap of only thirty minutes can boost energy levels as well as improve your driving skills and alertness.
- Avoid heavy foods. Eat fruit and healthy snacks rather than fatty and sugary food.
- Avoid caffeine and drink plenty of water. Coffee and cola drinks provide a quick, but very short-lived improvement in alertness.
- Don't drink and drive. Not only does alcohol severely impair your driving ability, but it also acts as a depressant. Just one drink can induce fatigue.
- Also, avoid smoking when you drive. Smoke's nicotine and carbon monoxide hamper night vision.
- If you are taking any medication, check whether it causes drowsiness.
- Take a break at least every 2 hours.
Joint statement by:
Adv. Lennit Max
Minister of Community Safety
Minister of Transport
Media Liaison Officer/Spokesperson
Ministry of Community Safety
Cell: 082 780 0242
Media Liaison Officer
Ministry of Transport and Public Works
Cell: 083 641 9691
X P Wentzel
Media Liaison officer
Law Enforcement Co-ordinator
Department of Community Safety
Cell: 082 820 0621