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Fewer fatal crashes involve driver fatigue.

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Senator The Hon Ron Boswell

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

25 October 2002 B108/2002


A recent road safety report estimates that the number of fatal crashes on Australian roads involving driver fatigue fell from 303 in 1994 to 251 in 1998, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal Minister for Transport, Senator Ron Boswell, said today.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau's analysis indicates that driver fatigue was involved in 16.6 per cent of all fatal crashes 1998, a reduction from 18 per cent of all fatal crashes in 1994.

These findings were released today in the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's report Fatigue related crashes: An analysis of fatigue related crashes on Australian roads using an operational definition of fatigue (report OR23) .

Senator Boswell said that although inroads were being made into one of the main causes of fatal road crashes in Australia, much remains to be done.

"A high priority is given by all levels of government in Australia to the implementation of fatigue-related countermeasures and to increasing drivers' awareness of the dangers of driving when fatigued," he said.

"We intend to build on recent successes in media advertising, provision of highway rest stops and making highway environments more forgiving to straying drivers."

Senator Boswell said that the ATSB's report also shows that fatigue has a major impact on the safety of the freight transport industry in Australia.

"Fatigue was a factor in a large number of fatal crashes involving articulated trucks, although generally it was not the truck driver that was the fatigued party in a crash involving more than one vehicle.

"While between 1992 and 1998, an estimated 33.5 per cent of fatal articulated truck crashes involved driver fatigue compared with 15.1 per cent of other fatal road crashes, the truck driver was the fatigued party in only one of every six fatal fatigue crashes involving an articulated truck and another vehicle," he said.

"Young male drivers and riders should also heed the report's findings which indicate that 75.5% of fatigued drivers and riders involved in single vehicle crashes in 1998 were male, with 35.1% being aged between 17 and 24 years of age."

The ATSB report defines a fatigue crash as either a single vehicle crash occurring during specific early morning and afternoon time zones or a head-on collision between non-overtaking vehicles. Excluded from the definition is any crash that occurred on a road having a speed limit under 80 km/h or involved a pedestrian, an unlicensed driver or a driver strongly effected by alcohol.

The report is available online at

Media Contacts

Leah Nicoll ( Senator Boswell's Office ) 07 3001 8150 / 0407 132 284