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Journeys : Dec Jan 2010
As we approach Christmas, a report from the Federal Gover nment casts new light on younger drivers and late-night driving. The report, prepared for the Department of Infrastr ucture, Transport, Regional Development and Local Gover nment, looked at sleepiness and hazard perception while driving. Older, experienced drivers and younger, inexperienced drivers were tested on hazard perception skills at 3am and 10am. As the report states, "It appears that the hazard perception of the older, more-experienced drivers were relatively unaffected by mild increases in sleepiness, while the hazard perception skills of the younger, inexperienced drivers were significantly slowed by a mild increase in sleepiness. The result may explain the increased risk of driving while sleepy for young adult drivers." Sleepiness impairs elements of driving perfor mance that are critical to safe driving, including ha zard perception, and has been identified as a major contributor to young driver crashes and a significant contributor to crashes overall. Young adults are four times more likely to be involved in 'fall- asleep' crashes than older drivers. Reasons may include social factors, maturity factors and disrupted sleep patterns. Generally, the report notes that experienced drivers have better road hazard perception than inexperienced drivers. Young drivers display a smaller range of horizontal scanning of the road environment, look more closely at the front of the vehicle, check the mirrors less frequently, use peripheral vision less efficiently and fix ate on fewer objects. Novice drivers also focus more on stationary objects; whereas experienced drivers focus more on moving objects. One of the report's recommendations is that inexperienced drivers should avoid driving at times when our underlying body- rhythms promote sleepiness. It's an interesting insight at a time when festive celebrations reach their annual peak and younger Tasmanian s tend not to be tucked up in bed in the wee small hours. Want to read more? Go to http://w w w.infrastructure.gov.au/ roads/s afety/publication s/2009/RSRG_2009001.a spx Helping reduce litter on our roads The holiday season is fast approaching and many of us will spend time travelling. This is a perfect opportunity to consider the amount of litter along our highways and roadsides and help do something about it. While many people act responsibly by keeping their rubbish in the car to dispose of correctly at the journey's end, some people do not. Litter is unsightly and it can affect all of us, by causing harm to people, wildlife and our water ways. Roadside litter is also wasteful and costly to clean up; it also affects the way tourists view our state. If you see someone littering, you can do something. You can report directly online to the Litter Hotline at w w w.environment. tas.gov.au/litter or call 1300 135 513 to receive a litter report form for completion and lodgment with the Environ ment Division. For effective reporting, keep a notepad and pen or pencil handy in the glovebox. Pay particular attention to the vehicle registration number, the type and colour of the vehicle, the date, time and place and the type of litter deposited. The latest figures from the Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index (w w w.kab.org.au) show that littering in Tasmania has increased. Success with reducing littering relies on both individual and community action. The Look Who's Littering -- on the Road education campaign will remind road users over the Christmas holiday period to dispose of their rubbish correctly and to report litterers. The campaign is funded by the National Packaging Covenant and is coordinated by the Environment Division in the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. It includes radio and taxi-back advertisements, posters, and bumper stickers and it is also supported by roadside signs at 92 locations throughout the state. To receive a Look Who's Littering -- on the Road bumper sticker that advertises the Litter Hotline, visit R ACT branches in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie. Partying and the rhythms of sleep In our community December 09 / January 10 8
October November 2009
Feb March 2010