Police investigator blames tiredness for most motorway crashes
19 August 2009

Driver fatigue rather than speed is the single biggest cause of collisions on Britain’s motorways, according to a top police accident investigator.

Gary Baldwin, a forensic collision investigator for Thames Valley Police since 1988, says a lack of education is the main reason why fatigue is such a problem on Britain’s motorways.

“It may sound silly, but people just aren’t aware of how dangerous it is to drive with your eyes shut,” he said. “People think they will be all right, that if they wind down the windows or turn up the radio the tiredness will go away, but that just isn’t the case.”

His revelations follow the launch of a joint Autocar/AA campaign, which aims to improve the standard of driving on Britain’s roads and wants motorway driving included as part of the driving test.

Baldwin said driving while fatigued extends normal reaction times to the levels of an “anaesthetised slug”.

Speed isn’t necessarily a big cause of motorway collisions, according to Baldwin. “We all do roughly the same speeds on a motorway so it is rarely a cause of crashes,” he said. “Speed can be more of a factor off the motorway, but on it it’s not really an issue.”

The number of people killed on Britain’s major roads, including motorways, fell last year from 1590 to 1390, a drop of 13 per cent, according to figures from the Department for Transport.

Mark Tisshaw

Twitter - follow autocar.co.uk

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK