Fatigue is one of the most commonly experienced problems amongst long distance drivers and results in significant, but unrecorded, number of crashes each year. The methodological difficulties associated with diagnosing fatigue have led to a gap in legislation and traffic management practice where fatigue is regarded largely as un-prosecutable. In fact, in many countries including South Africa, fatigue is not fully defined as an offence under traffic legislation, and hence remains a form of driver behaviour that cannot be effectively targeted. There is a move internationally to address fatigue in traffic legislation and to develop new ways of operationalizing it as a traffic offence. Legislation and traffic management practices in Europe and the US particularly are giving effect to a more aggressive approach in which fatigue is treated actively as a prosecutable offence. While it is still too early to tell if this is having a positive effect of crash rates, the reduction in the number of fatigued drivers is seen as a positive step towards the achievement of safer roads. This paper presents some of the international developments in fatigue ? specifically in legislation and methods of fatigue detection - that may have value to road safety practitioners in the South African context.
Paper presented at the 34th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 6-9 July 2015 "Working Together to Deliver - Sakha Sonke", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.