Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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25 October 2004 PR 04/110

Loughborough University researchers issue new warning to tired drivers

New figures released by Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre have highlighted the dangers of driving whilst tired.

The research was carried out for the Department of Transport (DfT) and focussed on selected motorways and trunk roads. It found that:

- One quarter of all road crashes that caused death or serious injury were sleep related;

- 17 percent of road crashes resulting in injury or death were sleep related;

- 67 percent of sleep related crashes were caused by car drivers and 32 percent were caused by drivers of goods vehicles;

- 85 percent of drivers causing sleep related crashes were men;

- While road crashes occur mostly on Fridays, these sleep related crashes occurred least on Fridays and mostly on Mondays.

The findings coincide with a new Government campaign warning drivers to the dangers of ‘micro-sleeps’. These are potentially fatal dozes which last between two and 30 seconds and normally occur when people are tired but trying to stay awake.

Louise Reyner of the Loughborough Sleep Research Centre said: “Driving while sleepy is dangerous, as bad as driving whilst over the legal alcohol limit. Anyone who feels sleepy when driving should stop, drink a caffeine drink and take a 15-minute nap.”

The Loughborough Sleep Research Centre is world renowned for its work in this field. It has modern facilities for sleep research, including equipment for the home recording of sleep electroencephalograms (EEGs), actimetry (body movement-monitoring during sleep), state of the art computer-based systems, and a driving simulator. It also has bedrooms for overnight recordings.

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Notes to editors
Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place Loughborough in the top flight of UK universities, and industry highlights Loughborough in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 45% of the University’s income is for research. The University has been awarded four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; and for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development.

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