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Is driving fatigued just as bad as driving drunk?

While delayed response times, drowsiness, and general grogginess could sound like the end of a night out on the town, it could just as easily describe the symptoms for fatigue. When we aren’t well rested, our bodies and minds must bear the burden, which is similar to driving with alcohol in the blood.

As driving is an activity which requires us being alert and responsive, substances that could impair our judgement such as alcohol are restricted or prohibited, depending on a driver’s age and licence. However, research has come to suggest that a lack of sleep could have just as dramatic an effect on our ability to control a vehicle as alcohol.

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New study examines impact of central vision loss

One of the requisites for operating a vehicle, whether it’s a passenger car, motorbike or freight truck, is adequate vision. Not only do we need our sight to ostensibly see where we are going, but our sight needs to have sufficient acuity to allow us to perceive and react to various hazards in time. Some people experience central vision loss.

While for many Australian drivers, the eye test part of the licence application is a simple formality, for others it can be a barrier to their ability to operate a vehicle.

Now a new study by Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School has examined the ability of drivers with central vision loss to detect pedestrians on the road.

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More Councils urged to adopt NSWLLS

In an effort to reduce wear and tear on country roads, as well as make transportation more efficient, the state government developed the NSW Livestock Loading Scheme (NSWLLS) in 2012. The Scheme also includes driver education and practical training for professional drivers, to help ensure the safety of all road users.

However, while not everyone is yet on board with the scheme, an independent review has found that the benefits to country roads as well as regional residents and workers could be great.

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Do drivers understand new vehicle safety features?

Cars are a lot more capable than they were even a decade ago. This isn’t just referring to speed, handling and other elements of the driving experience, either. In recent years, the focus of car manufacturers around the world has been to develop a suite of safety features to better protect drivers and passengers.

Vehicle safety technology has moved past simply acting post-collision, as is the case with passive features such as airbags. Now, cars are coming equipped with sensory equipment that can detect oncoming hazards and act to prevent injury either independently or through assisting the driver.

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bstreetsmart targets younger drivers

Young drivers across New South Wales are to be the focus of ‘bstreetsmart’, a new on-road safety campaign.

Sydney’s Allphones Arena welcomed more than 22,000 NSW students hailing from 183 different schools from August 24-27 for an immersive, educational demonstration highlighting the importance of safe driving.

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Spike in NSW road toll

It’s not news that anyone wants to hear, but there has recently been a sharp rise in the New South Wales road toll, with 15 people killed over the course of two short weeks.

“With warmer weather across NSW, it seems some drivers are taking good driving conditions for granted, which is costing lives on our roads,” John Hartley, assistant commissioner of NSW’s Traffic and Highway Patrol Command told the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

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AEB reducing fatalities

Safety technology in motor vehicles has evolved greatly since the first car came off the production line in 1908.

As new technology is developed we have seen the bar raised in terms of the safety standard for new cars.

This is monitored by independent auto watchdog organisations such as the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), which provides a star rating for cars based on the results of rigorous safety testing.

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Night driving restrictions reduce the crash rate for young drivers.

For people learning to drive, there are many skills that must be acquired. In addition to navigating different hazards and managing distractions, new drivers must also learn to drive safely in conditions where visibility is poor, such as night. But the crash rate is still too high.

A study sponsored by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development found that young or inexperienced drivers were more likely to be slower at anticipating hazards at night. In addition, novice drivers were also found to be more at risk of experiencing acute sleepiness when they were behind the wheel both at night or in the early hours of the morning.

As such, a number of states have regulations in place to limit the amount of unsupervised nighttime driving for learners.

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Mobile phones a distraction even if you do not answer

Hazard perception is a key element for safe driving.  When drivers are distracted, their ability to recognise and respond to hazards can be hindered, which can in turn lead to accidents. Mobile phones are one big distraction.

New research has found that a mobile phone ringing whilst you are driving is as big a distraction as actually answering the call.

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More apps to help drivers and commuters

Article PhotoSmartphones have an undeniable presence in the lives of Australians, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by developers, corporates and even government bodies. Now, Transport NSW has joined the crusade with its own range of smartphone applications, or apps to assist the state’s road users.

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