Those of you who follow me on Twitter will often hear me moan about working shifts, the jetlag effect and being forced to drive tired. I’ve always claimed it’s downright dangerous to have guys piloting 30 to 40 tons of metal around in the dark when they are sleep-deprived and working against their body clocks.
Well, last week this was confirmed. A guy at work wrote one of our almost new, 10 registration wagons off. He fell asleep at the wheel on the A17 and went straight over a roundabout. The police checked his tacho and he hit the roundabout at 53mph. That means he was on the limiter, i.e. cruise control set at maximum speed; which is how we drive most of the time.
Miraculously nobody was injured in the accident but it’s clear that the consequences could have been grave if he’d hit a more substantial roundabout, drifted off the road into a ditch/trees or hit that car containing a family coming the other way.
It’s unclear what action will be taken against him but I suspect he will be prosecuted and probably lose his job, poor bastard.
Work had changed his shift hours around so he was driving tired, like most of us have to do day in, day out.
Hopefully, finally my workplace will wake up to the danger of their enforced shift system…but somehow I doubt it, it’s happened before and nothing has changed.
When somebody dies in such an incident, would there be grounds for a corporate manslaughter charge to be raised against a workplace who constantly expects drivers to swap and change their shift patterns and stay alert on long, lonely night-time journeys?