Driver fatigue

Title: The effect of three low-cost engineering treatments on driver fatigue: a driving simulator study

Organisation: University of Leeds (Institute for Transport Studies)
Date uploaded: 5th February 2013
Date published/launched: January 2013

Three engineering treatments were implemented in a driving simulator study to assess the effect of road-based measures on alleviating the symptoms of fatigue.

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Three engineering treatments were implemented in a driving simulator study to assess the effect of road-based measures on alleviating the symptoms of fatigue.

Using results from previous research on the effect of circadian rhythms on fatigue-related crashes, two groups of male drivers were recruited for this study: young shift workers under the age of 35, who attended immediately after their night shift, and older drivers over the age of 45, who completed the study during the ‘post lunch dip’ period, after consuming lunch.

Eye tracking (PERCLOS) and lateral driver performance measures were used to assess whether baseline measures of fatigue changed after drivers experienced each of the three treatments, which included variable message signs, chevrons and rumble strips.

Summary of results
Results showed a marked difference in these measures between drivers’ baseline (not fatigued) and experimental (fatigued) visits. There were also some reductions in lateral deviation and eye closure (as measured by PERCLOS) when the treatments were encountered, but no marked difference between the three treatments.

These results suggest that in addition to driver- and vehicle-based methods currently employed to mitigate the effects of fatigue, the inclusion of such engineering measures may help alleviate fatigue-related impairments in driving, particularly if such treatments are implemented during long stretches of straight monotonous roads which are known to be associated with fatigue-related crashes.

However, positive effects of the treatments were short lived, prompting the need for further investigations on their optimal frequency of presentation and combination to achieve maximum impact from these low-cost, road-based treatments.

For more information contact:
Dr Natasha Merat
T: +44 (0)113 34 36614

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