May 11, 2006

Driving tired is potentially as risky as driving drunk

Pembroke, Ontario – The Highway Safety Roundtable has launched Canada’s first National Fatigue Impairment Awareness Day, with the warning that if drivers are overtired, they are impaired.

“We’ve all driven when feeling tired or sleepy, but the fact is that drowsy drivers put themselves and other road users at risk,” says Mark Yakabuski, an insurance representative on the Roundtable. “Just like alcohol, fatigue affects our ability to drive by slowing reaction time, decreasing awareness and impairing judgement. Too many Canadians think that just because they haven’t been drinking, they are okay to drive. But if you are overtired, it can be just like being drunk behind the wheel.”

In a 2005 Traffic Injury Research Foundation study, 20 per cent of Canadians admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once over the last year. A 2004 study suggests that fatigue is a factor in about 15 per cent of motor vehicle collisions, resulting in approximately 400 deaths and 2,100 serious injuries every year.

Signs that you may be too tired to drive include loss of concentration, drowsiness, yawning, slow reactions, sore or tired eyes, boredom, feeling irritable and restless, missing road signs, difficulty in staying in the lane, and nodding off. Shift workers and teenagers are especially susceptible. For more information, visit

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