Our say | Pit stops needed for drivers to stop and rest

There would be very few of us who would be able to say they have never driven without a hint of tiredness, but it is time to take that fatigue seriously. 

Sadly fatigue is one of the biggest killers of drivers.

Last year 76 people died on NSW roads because of fatigue.

Of these, 67 of these lives – or nearly 90 per cent – were lost on country roads. 

According to former advanced driver trainer Norm Bolitho, roadside rest areas should be provided every 10 kilometres to help reduce driver fatigue and cut the road toll.

Since reporting on Mr Bolitho’s statewide campaign calling for areas to help motorists rest and use their mobile phones safely we have been inundated by readers agreeing with him.

As Mr Bolitho said “driver fatigues comes upon you quickly and needs immediate action”.

“That action is to get off the road and rest, but to do so requires rest areas at frequent intervals,” he said.

Of course police and rescue services agreed with his concerns over driver fatigue.

He is now writing to the state government, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), the NRMA and local authorities calling for action.

According to Roads Minister Melinda Pavey “motorists who drive while they are tired remains the second biggest killer on our roads behind speeding drivers and is a problem across the country”.

Her figures reveal that last year we 272 people died on country roads.

That is nearly 70 per cent of the total 2017 road toll - 392 deaths in NSW.

We know that being awake for 17 hours has a similar impact on a drivers’ performance and reaction time behind the wheel as having blood alcohol content over the legal limit.

There is a misconception that it is primarily city drivers who are involved in road accidents because they’re driving on unfamiliar roads but that’s not the case.

Crashes due to fatigue are twice as likely to be fatal simply because drivers who are asleep cannot brake.

Most of us know first hand the dangers of long-distance travel.

More rest stops is not the only way to prevent driver fatigue but there’s no denying they would certainly help.

Surely this is a cause worth backing?