Driver Fatigue, the Silent Killer Monday, December 04, 2017
It’s the knock on the door that no parent ever wants to receive. In January last year police came to Dee Fowler’s Serpentine home to tell her that her daughter Danielle had died. The 22-year-old was driving home early on a Saturday morning, when she fell asleep. Her car left the road and hit a tree.
 
“Danielle was a bubbly, gorgeous, happy-go-getter with plans to travel to Europe later in the year. She had lots of friends, loved her job as a vet nurse and loved animals. I don’t want any parent or anyone to have to go through what my family and I have gone through. The message about driver fatigue and driving when tired needs telling, so people don’t do it,” said Dee.
 
“There had been a few times when previously Danielle had called me and said she was feeling tired and she was sleeping on a friend’s couch or I’d go and pick her up. She’d been drinking water all night, so she obviously felt fine to drive but she wasn’t. My message to everyone is play it safe, take regular breaks when you’re driving, stretch your legs, have a coffee.”
 
In a hope to raise awareness about driving tired, Dee today championed a campaign launched by the WA Local Government Association aimed at helping drivers avoid fatigue this festive season.
 
WALGA President Cr Lynne Craigie said driver fatigue claimed 27 lives on WA roads last year but it had been found just a few minutes of higher intensity activity could help reduce the toll.
 
To support the campaign and recognise the 25th anniversary of the Driver Reviver program, WALGA has commissioned a special mobile facility that will visit hot spots to assist in keeping motorists moving.
 
“Driver fatigue is a silent killer. It slows a drivers’ reactions and decision-making ability, decreases their tolerance for other road users, decreases their alertness and causes poor lane tracking and speed maintenance,” Cr Craigie said.
 
“The skills and reaction times of a driver who has been awake for 24 hours are the same as someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.1. Neither is safe to be on the road.”
 
Funded by the Road Trauma Trust Account, the WALGA RoadWise program coordinates the Driver Reviver program which will have up to 70 volunteers at locations across the State during the festive season.
 
To demonstrate the appreciation by WALGA and Local Governments for the ongoing support of the program, all costs associated with the activity trailer and campaign promotion are being funded by the Association.
 
“WALGA and the sector take very seriously our role in promoting road safety especially given Councils manage almost 90 per cent of the State roads on which more than half of all serious crashes occur,” Cr Craigie said.