Current figures show that fatigued drivers are involved in up to 20% of crashes on Victorian roads.
In an attempt to cut back this major cause of road accidents, the State Government is testing new technology to detect fatigued drivers. Part of an $850,000 investment, it is the first such trial to be held in Australia.
Minister for Roads and Minister for Road Safety and the TAC, Jaala Pulford, announced that trials will get underway at a controlled test facility in Kilsyth.
“When you consider that fatigue has the same effect on driving ability as alcohol, this trial has the potential to combat one of the biggest killers on our roads,” Minister Pulford said.
As part of the trial, drivers will be kept awake for up to 32 hours, before conducting a two-hour drive on a controlled track, supervised by a qualified instructor in a dual control vehicle.
Drivers will be tested before and after their drive to measure involuntary movement of their pupils, which is proven to be strongly linked with increasing levels of fatigue.
It is hoped that the trial will show if roadside testing for extreme fatigue can be conducted in a similar way to current roadside alcohol and drug testing.
VicRoads is leading the study and is working closely with Monash University, the Transport Accident Commission, Victoria Police and the Alertness CRC.
The project is funded through the $1.4 billion Towards Zero Action Plan, delivered by VicRoads and funded by the Transport Accident Commission.