Opinion: Using data to tackle driver fatigue

By: Chris L’Ecluse

Industry operators have a role in tackling non-compliance and tools to do it

Opinion: Using data to tackle driver fatigue
Chris L’Ecluse


Managing driver fatigue is a crucial safety aspect in the transport industry and this has been reflected by an increase in legislative pressure.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 indicates that everybody from business owners to drivers is part of the Chain of Responsibility. So, how can transport operators ensure drivers are taking adequate breaks?

While the need to tackle driver fatigue within the road transport industry seems obvious, it’s difficult to enforce. This is where data and technology can provide the solution.

The latest message coming from the National Transport Commission (NTC) is that regulation of driver fatigue is a complex policy issue and more research needs to be done on its causes and impacts.

To address this, the NTC is partnering with the Alertness Safety and Productivity Cooperative Research Centre to collect data on where and why drivers have been involved in fatigue related incidents.

This is a positive step towards better identifying why non-compliance with fatigue rules occurs.

Yet government and industry bodies can’t solve this complex issue on their own.

Operators can take responsibility for this by not only relying on NTC data but taking advantage of information on driver behaviour and fatigue history.

With technology increasing access to real time data on driver behaviour, operators and drivers are both better placed to minimise tired driving and support evidence-based regulatory reform.

Non-compliance with fatigue legislation and company policies can be tackled by keeping track of a driver’s fatigue status against their rule sets so drivers know when they are due to have a rest.

Looking at the long term, this data will reveal large scale workforce patterns, such as when fatigue-related incidents occur at the beginning, middle or end of a driver’s shift as well as what time of day.

With access to more rigorous data on driver fatigue, Australia’s transport industry will have a clearer indication of what needs to be done to reduce the problem and make roads safer for all users.

Chris L’Ecluse is a solutions specialist at Teletrac Navman

Check out the full feature in the August issue of ATN. Subscribe here.


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