Driver Fatigue Causes 20% of Auto Crashes: Study
By Susan Trulove | April 15, 2013
A 100-car “naturalistic” driving study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute says that fatigue is a cause of 20 percent of car crashes, rather than the two or three percent previously estimated based on surveys, simulator studies and test tracks.
Also, the study found, 18- to 20-year-olds account for significantly more fatigue-related crashes than any other age group. Adolescents’ sleep patterns shift to later hours; however, the school day still tends to start early, resulting in daytime sleepiness. A driver at any age can also be fatigued.
“The study allowed us, for the first time, to observe driver behavior just prior to a crash. In 20 percent of all crashes and 16 percent of all near crashes, the driver was showing fatigue. We saw eye-lid closure, head bobbing, severe loss of facial musculature, micro-sleep – which is when your eyes drift shut and then pop up,” said Klauer. “This was not just yawning. The drivers were asleep.”
Applying the findings to the population at-large, these results suggest that drivers are at a four times greater risk of a crash or near-crash if they choose to drive while fatigued,” said Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “That suggests that about 12 percent of all crashes and near-crashes in the population are attributable to fatigue.”
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Basic health interventions can help your business lower short-term disability rates, while reducing your employees’ time away from work. That’s the bottom line of a nationwide study of 118,000 employees by CIGNA, a major health services
CIGNA found that these measures, combined with predictive analytics, cut disability rates by 15% among employees at high risk of suffering disability within in the next 12 months. (The study defined “high risk” as a 10% or greater probability of becoming disabled during this period).
“By identifying workers at high risk of future short-term disability and providing individualized intervention that includes coaching, incentives, and other outreach, our study shows that the onset of disability absence can be reduced measurably, benefiting employers and employees alike,” says Dr. Robert N. Anfield, chief medical officer for CIGNA’s Disability business. Future studies will deal with the impact of intervention on the length of short-term disability, return-to-work rates, and total medical costs.
The company’s Absence Prediction and Prevention program establishes an intervention, led by a nurse/health advocate, that provides:
- Early identification of workers at high risk for future short-term disability.
- Proactive outreach to these employees.
- Clinical Assessment.
- A range of disability absence prevention strategies.
By proactively identifying employees who might be having health problems before their condition worsens and they need to leave work, you can help workers stay healthy and potentially prevent or lessen the impact of injuries or illness – which translates into lower absenteeism, higher productivity, and a healthier bottom line.
It makes sense to develop an absence prevention program that emphasizes preventive health safety training. As always, we stand ready to offer our advice.