The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.
The Canada Safety Council and TheSteelAlliance partner an annual driving survey. The 2003 findings suggest Canadian drivers are trying to fit more and more into a day, even if it jeopardizes their safety. - The number of drivers who admit to at least one act of aggressive driving over the past year has risen from 84 per cent in 1999 to 88 per cent in 2003. Stress is the main reason cited. - Over half drove while tired over the past year, including one out of 10 who admit to falling asleep behind the wheel. - A stunning 97 per cent of drivers in the 18 to 49 age group admit to multi-tasking while driving in the past year. According to a 1999 study from the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, drivers who hold more than one job, who get six hours or less of sleep a night or who drive between midnight and 6:00 a.m. are more likely to have a drowsy driving crash. About half of the drivers in sleep-related crashes said they did not feel drowsy before they crashed. One-quarter said they had driven while sleepy more than 10 times in the past year. The study concluded that anyone who does not get enough sleep on a regular basis is at risk, and that sleep-deprived drivers have a risk of crash comparable to drinking drivers. A 1997 Australian study found performance impairments equivalent to a BAC of 0.05 after 17 to 19 hours without sleep. That study reinforced evidence that fatigue from sleep deprivation can compromise speed and accuracy needed for safety on the road and in industrial settings. People who are fatigued, in a rush, or mentally focused on other issues or tasks create an unsafe environment. Tasks such as driving require concentration, alertness and physical co-ordination. Assuring safe performance of such tasks must enter into the work-life balance.