OTTAWA, Ont. – The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) has released results of a new poll suggesting 1.3 million Ontario drivers have fallen asleep or nodded off while driving at least once in the past year.
More than 100,000 of those drivers fell asleep on five or more occasions, the poll also found.
“The number of fatigued and drowsy drivers in Ontario is a matter of major concern because of the elevated crash risk they pose,” says Ward Vanlaar, a research associate for TIRF. “These drivers accounted for 5.5 million driving trips during which they fell asleep or nodded off.”
As many as 167,000 fatigue-related collisions may have occurred in the province, according to TIRF. Despite the risks posed by tired drivers, the organization found most Ontarians are not overly concerned about the issue.
“Not all Ontarians are convinced fatigued or drowsy driving is a problem for a variety of reasons, including the belief they can control the dangers imposed by it,” says Vanlaar.
Only 14.8% of drivers polled have actually pulled over to sleep or nap when tired – the most effective way to deal with fatigue.
“Once you start feeling tired or drowsy, it becomes almost impossible to predict when you will fall asleep,” says Vanlaar. “Therefore, stopping to nap or sleep, at regular intervals, before you become tired or drowsy can save your life.
“Ontarians know they should pull over when they’re tired; they also know it’s effective, but they’re still not doing it,” Vanlaar adds. “The challenge is to find effective ways to communicate with the public about the dangers of fatigued and drowsy driving so they understand how important it is to stop driving before they feel fatigued or drowsy.”
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