Assessing Driving Related Risks 4
Steps to Risk Assessment 5
Identifying the Hazards 5
The Driver 5
The Road 5
The Journey 6
The Vehicles 6
Who/what can be harmed? 7
Early warning signs of driver fatigue. 7
Factors affecting Fatigue during Driving 8
Risk Assessment 9
Qualitative Risk Analysis 9
Risk Control 13
Control Measures to relieve Driver Fatigue 14
Commuting has become a very important part of our daily activities. Any person, working, studying, or travelling has to travel from place to place. Many people prefer to drive vehicle themselves when they are commuting. Even if it is a daily activity, there are countless number of incidents and mishap related to travelling everyday like crashing or vehicle malfunctions. It is a normal activity with possibilities of harm caused due to many factors involved with road transport. The purpose of driving for many people is for employment and business purposes so as a business activity also it is critical to analyze the activity of driving and bring out an educated and thorough opinion on the matter. As so many people depend on it, there is a wave of concern for the people suffering through accidents due to driving. The risk in the activity of driving needs to be assessed as rigorously as possible. This activity of risk assessment on the activity of driving while commuting should share some light on the condition and risk factors which apply to people who drive. It should also illuminate people on the possible solutions to each of these risks and problems related to these activities.
Risk: The potential harm that can be caused to a person or entity arisen due to an activity which becomes a factor of concern is called a Risk.
Hazard: The probability of an incident arising due to a risk factor involved in the situation which would harm or injure people or property is called a Hazard.
Risk Assessment: The detailed assessment and analyzing of a hazard and the risks arising from the hazard to possibly curb the risk factor on the hazard involved in the situation and provide plausible solutions is known as Risk Assessment.
Risk Management: Risk Management is determining what type of risks will be involved in the process and taking care of those risks in a well suited manner. (Risk Mitigation, n.d.)
A proper risk assessment for road safety and driver fatigue can help minimize the risk on driving which will lead to lesser injuries to drivers, minimized risk of health problems in workers and less stress among the employees.
Driver fatigue is a critical problem worsened due to increase in the amount of vehicles increasing on the road. It may not be easy to calculate the number of accidents resulted due to fatigue but 20% of the driving accidents are caused by driver fatigue which amounts to a quarter of the total number of fatal accidents. The concerning factor in this situation is that these type of accidents, the outcome is always fatal as the driver is under the illusion of being awake and alert and is driving on high speeds. As the driver is asleep he is not able to decelerate or react until it is too late. Also even if the driver is half asleep his reaction time is way lower than the usual time which is still hazardous as the consequences of driving while sleeping are disastrous. Sometimes even drivers choose to ignore the risks knowingly. IF a driver is travelling continuously due to work, his employer should be concerned about the risks involved with work-related driving fatigue. (Department of Transport, 2014)
Assessing Driving Related Risks
As an employee or an employer you are supposed to analyze the risks of work related driving. It has the same importance as any work related activity. For this task is should also be taken care that the person who is doing this work is competent do the work, has a capacity to drive well continuously. The risks are fatal to the driver as well as the people driving around and one accident can cause other accidents which cause loss of lives and property and disrupt work. This probability itself makes it a reason to assess the risks of driving under fatigue.
The primary causes of driver fatigue are tight time schedules, long hours of driving and working, driving in the wee hours, sleep caused by irregular shifts, and lack of sleep. These are the primary reasons and there can be many more causes of driver fatigue and it is difficult to form a pattern. It can also be a single occurrence. There is a dire need for spreading awareness related to this situation and taking rigorous steps to possibly prevent this.
Driver are usually aware of the tiredness and sleep I their body but despite that sometime they make a conscious decision to keep driving rather than letting anybody else drive or stopping for rest. The reasons that these people do not recognize the seriousness of this problem are due to these factors:
• They fail to ascertain the danger signals of this risk.
• They disregard the reduction of alertness caused due to it.
• They are too sleepy to respond to the warning signs.
• They purposely choose to disregard the risk as a reason of being over confident towards driving. (Brown, 2006)
Steps to Risk Assessment
1. Identifying hazards: observing the probable source of harm.
2. Assessing risks: Ascertaining who could be at harm due to the observed hazards.
3. Controlling the Risks: Applying control measures to contain the risks which can potentially cause harm.
Identifying the Hazards
Drivers should be asked if they have a firsthand experience on the matter. The type of people that should be consulted should be the ones driving extensively and regularly so an experienced opinion can be generated and driver fatigue can also be ascertained. The primary areas of concern for this study are these four elements: 1. The Driver, 2. The Road, 3. The Journey, 4. The Vehicles
The type of people that fall under the category of the driver:
• The group of people whose primary job is driving. (E.g. Professional Drivers, Truck Drivers)
• The people who drive regularly for work purposes but it is not their primary activity for the Job.
• The people who do not drive often, or are just driving due to an emergency.
Most of the times these accidents are caused due to the driver’s negligence of the potential risks and hazards cased due to driving related fatigue.
Define: The road is the pathway that leads the driver to and from the destination.
The road becomes a factor for this study because it has an impact on the driver and can make a difference in this activity.
There can be factors which affect a driver and cause risks on the road like:
• Lack of important signboards which can warn the driver about turns or diversions ahead.
• Anomalies on the road like potholes or unmarked bumps.
• The lack of light reflectors on the road which are vital to the driver at night.
• Unavailability of street lights or malfunction caused to the lights.
• Lack of places where a driver can park and take rest for a while.
The terminology used in this context:
• The Journeys made for the reasons of work or when an employee is on working hours neglecting the factor of distance.
• Journeys which include commuting for the purpose of training exercise.
Currently according to new laws, a person travelling from his residence to work is not technically “at work” but still there should be regulations to manage the fatigue caused in this time period.
The time taken for the journey and the breaks provided for the journey are an important factor. Even the time of travel and the distance of the journey make all the difference to a driver’s comfort and fatigue.
The types of vehicles under consideration of this study:
• Company provided vans, trucks or cars.
• Vehicles used which are for hire.
• Special-purpose vehicles which are supplied by manufacturers for working purposes.
• The vehicles privately owned by the driver himself.
The safety of the driver sometimes depends on the vehicle because if the vehicle is malfunctioned then it is an immediate hazard to road safety. If the car doesn’t have safety measures like seatbelts or emergency air bags then the driver cannot be safe in case of an accident.
Who/what can be harmed?
• The Driver
• Other people driving on the road
• Potential passerby
• Risk to vehicle
• Risk to property damage on the road (Work Related Driving, 2014)
Early warning signs of driver fatigue.
• Rolling of the eyes
• Tired Eyes/ Heavy Eyelids
• Head drooping
• Difficulty in concentration
The Risk Assessment should take following things into account:
• Working and driving hours
• Weekly Driving hours
• The time table of the shifts assigned to workers
• Length of the Journey
• Occupational hazards
• Vehicle Engineering and Safety Measures
• Individual Factors
Factors affecting Fatigue during Driving
Work Related Factors Non-Work Related Factors
Prolonged time to have stayed awake Sleep loss
Driving during wee hours Bad quality of sleep
Lack of breaks Part time jobs
Workload Social life
Long Working hours No fatigue management
Extreme weather conditions Travelling
Physically demanding work Sleep Apnea
Qualitative Risk Analysis
Insignificant Negligible Medium Major Catastrophic
Almost Certain Tiredness caused sleep Driver rarely gets required amount of sleep Regular driving in the wee hours and low availability of time to rest.
Likely Traffic density causing the driver to speed up Driver occasionally sleeps at hotels or workplace at night Drivers driving regularly to long distances. Lack of breaks provided to driver to rest
Possible Minor flexibility for time taken to have rest Occasional long drives to work at night Predictable shift change times at work Driver is often called for emergency work at irregular timings. Vehicle Malfunction caused due to weather conditions
Unlikely Street light malfunction on the road Third party fault
Rare Driver has no info about the risks of driving under fatigue but is experienced Ignorance of potential risks of sleep Deprivation Acute sleep Disorder
Risk Assessment of the factors which contribute to fatigue caused by driving for business or operational purposes:
Minimal Risk Factors Moderate Risk Factors Excessive Risk Factors
Nature of work Work-related driving is non-existent Drives to workplace from time to time and prefers to drive also after prolonged working hours on highways. Drives to the workplace regularly and never walks away from driving after prolonged working hours on the highway.
Factors affecting the individual. No symptoms of health related problems or sleep. Driver under medication or facing tiredness. Acute undiagnosed sleep disorders or other health related problems
An active policy on management of fatigue formulated by the company and drivers being completely aware of the policies and respective measures to counter fatigue. Minimal information provided on the issue and drivers not too eager to be aware of that information. Non-existent information with the driver.
Factors affecting the Physical Clock No driving while the wee hours are going on. Occasional driving during the times when the driver can be facing low alertness. Majority of the driving occurs during the wee hours of the night.
Factors Related to Sleep Driver acquires the required amount of sleep which is about 7 to 8 hours per 24 hours. Driver gets the required amount of sleep from time to time. Driver rarely gets to have the required amount of sleep.
Driver sleeps during the night in his own bed Driver usually sleeps at hotels or at workplace during the night and rarely gets to sleep at the comfort of his home. Driver hardly sleeps during the night time and when he does, it is usually not at his home.
Factors related to the time provided to complete a task The driver works at regular hours all the time. The shift changes are predictable if existent. Totally unpredictable and prolonged working hours and can be called to work at an emergency.
The journeys which are planed include time for rest and supper breaks. Minor flexibility is available for such stops and delays caused during the journey No space for delays during the journeys provided and the journeys are usually of a long distance.
No occasions of possible long drives to the place of employment. Drives long distances to work from time to time. Regular long distance drives to workplace.
Acceptable amount o time taken for breaks regularly. Recess only observed at the beginning or at the end of work. No breaks during work.
Hazard Risk Control Method
Drivers being unaware of the company policy not knowing the procedure to be executed if someone starts to fall asleep. Communicating the safety policy effectively to all the staff and drivers
Drivers lack access to Fatigue management details Ensuring the drivers recognize the risk and methods to prevent fatigue by raising awareness.
Health issues of drivers affecting other drivers on the road. Encouraging the employees to openly disclose symptoms so that the staff can take care of him and an efficient driver can replace him.
Vehicle is not checked for safety Vehicles should be examined if they are fit for safe driving and it should have working seatbelts and airbags, etc.
Drivers driving on monotonous roads on highways after long shifts Avoid monotonous roads following a night shift
Drivers work at irregular hours/shifts Provide schedules in advance if possible to preserve a regular schedule.
Journey times do not allow regular breaks Planning rest breaks in advance of a journey would help making the drive more convenient
Control Measures to relieve Driver Fatigue
To maintain a healthy rate of working hours and ensure driver safety there are methods to prevent hazards caused due to Fatigue caused by driving:
• Setting a schedule which favors rest and breaks at regular and required time.
• Dividing the journey into short time periods
• Replacing the tired driver with a driver who is fresh and well rested whenever possible.
• By using two drivers at a time sharing the time period between them.
• To avoid facing bad consequences of sleep debt, 27 hours of rest should be granted in a period of 72 hours
• To check the safety of the vehicle
• Train and inform drivers regarding the risk of continuous sleepless driving
• Drivers need to be trained to follow traffic regulations to avoid accidents
• Regular sleep at night time should be granted (RSSB, 2013)
A rigorous and in-depth analysis can uncover the possibilities of preventing hazards caused due to driving. There are a lot of factors involved which require concern in this issue as this doesn’t just bother the company but is also a risk factor for the people driving on the road. Driver fatigue has been a problem since a long time and there have been several methods discovered to alleviate fatigue in a driver. A risk assessment is a compulsory procedure in many governments and it should be promoted for use in as many places as possible. The company has to take steps to educate the drivers regarding this issue to illuminate them about the potential threats of sleep during driving. If the risks are properly assessed and analyzed, lots of lives can be saved due to its application and disruption of work won’t be caused due to it. A safe driving habit can ensure safer travels in the future.
Brown, I. (2006). Driver Fatigue Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Intelligent Control and Automation, 2006. WCICA 2006. The Sixth World Congress on (Volume:2 ) , 8587 – 8591.
Department of Transport. (2014). Driving at Work. London: Health and Safety Executive.
Risk Mitigation. (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2014, from http://www.investorwords.com/: http://www.investorwords.com/19332/risk_mitigation.html
RSSB. (2013). Managing Occupational Road Risk. London: RSSB.
Work Related Driving. (2014). Retrieved July 2, 2014, from http://www.sussex.ac.uk/: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/hso/healthandsafety/riskassessment/workrelateddriving