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DRIVER FATIGUE: Are you part of the 44% of drivers ignoring break recommendations?



Startling statistics reveal that driver fatigue is a significant factor in road accidents, with 10-20% of crashes attributed to tired drivers. A new study conducted by Wessex Fleet has shed light on a concerning trend, showing that a staggering 44% of drivers neglect to take the recommended breaks when embarking on long journeys.


According to Rule 91 of The Highway Code, drivers are advised to take a minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving. However, the findings by Wessex Fleet indicate that a significant number of drivers are disregarding this crucial guideline, opting to prolong their time on the road without proper rest.

Key findings from the study include:


1. Approximately 15.2 million drivers in the UK are guilty of driving for excessive periods without breaks.

2. A staggering 44% of drivers openly admit to not taking a break after two hours of driving, as recommended by The Highway Code.

3. Out of the total surveyed, an estimated 7.6 million drivers are in need of extended breaks when embarking on long-distance journeys.

4. Shockingly, 1.3 million UK drivers confessed to never taking a break at all during their lengthy trips, putting themselves and others at an even higher risk.


Moreover, the study reveals that Scotland has the highest percentage of drivers who do not adhere to The Highway Code's recommendations on resting during long journeys.

The results showed that 44% of drivers admitted to driving for longer than the recommended two hours before stopping. It’s estimated that there are 34.8 million people who currently hold a driving licence, this means that there are potentially 15,207,600 UK drivers on the roads each year driving while fatigued. Out of those 1,000 drivers surveyed, nearly one in 25 admitted to never taking a break when driving long distances.


The survey also showed that 22% of UK drivers do not take an adequate break when they do stop, meaning they aren’t fully recovered before getting back onto the road. That equates to around 7.6 million drivers who are currently taking long journeys and are fatigued while doing so if we apply that to the number of licensed drivers.


Almost two-thirds of drivers living in Scotland admitted to driving more than two hours before taking a break. This was higher than any other region in the UK with drivers from Wales coming next with 52%, followed by those in Greater London with 49%.


According to the survey, Liverpudlians had the highest percentage of those who answered that they never took a break when driving long distances, with 11%, beating Edinburgh and Nottingham drivers who both tied with 7%.

At the other end of the scale, drivers in the North East of England are the best in the UK for knowing when to stop before they get too tired, with 61% of drivers saying they stop before the two-hour mark. They were also the only region where no drivers admitted to never stopping during their journey.

Simon Naylor, Director of Wessex Fleet, added: “It’s worrying to see that over 40% of drivers admitted to driving over the recommended time without taking a break. We know driving and concentrating over a long distance can cause reaction times to slow if a driver is tired. A fatigued driver could also be prone to causing an accident and could be fined for ‘dangerous driving’, which is an unlimited fine and can lead to disqualification or imprisonment at worst. When covering long-distance drives make sure to take plenty of rest stops, each lasting for a good amount of time, and also switch drivers if you can to avoid being tired behind the wheel.”

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