“This is particularly applicable to fatigued drivers, who doze off at the wheels between midnight and 5 am on our highways,” said B. Shefiq, Joint Regional Transport Officer, Perumbavur.
Stating that they usually ascertain the cause of accident owing to sleep deprivation by analysing the tyre markings, Mr. Shefiq said that there will be no signs of the driver applying the brakes near the accident spot as he would have got up only after ramming into another vehicle.
K. Manoj, Joint Regional Transport Officer, Ernakulam, pointed out that on an average 10 to 12 cases are lodged against container trucks plying in the district for various violations under the Motor Vehicles Act. “The impact of accidents involving container trucks is often huge as such vehicles carry a load of 35,000 to 40,000 kg,” he said.
“Other violations involving container trucks include shortcomings in the inter-State permit; unauthorised parking; and reckless driving. We have come across several incidents where container trucks had rammed into two-wheelers and light motor vehicles in Ernakulam,” he said.
B. G. Sreedevi, Chief Scientist at the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (Natpac) under the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, said that only professional drivers ensure that they have proper sleep before going on trips during the night hours. “Take the example of accidents in the night involving drivers, who had undertaken assignments to the airports. Most of the drivers riding to the airports lack the experience to drive during night hours and doze off on the wheels leading to tragic accidents,” she said.
James Sebastian, a senior general physician, said that a driver undertaking night trips should get at least eight hours of sleep in the daytime. “Fatigue is the main reason for dozing off on the wheels. They should take breaks in between the long journey by staying hydrated,” he said.