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Sleepy Drivers Die

A report by the Australian Centre on Quality of Life at Deakin University found that more than 31 percent of Australians sleep six hours or less a night, yet less than 3 percent of the population is hard wired to sleep so few hours. Insufficient sleep has significant consequences on health and well-being including serious injury and even death.

Inadequate sleep is a major health and safety hazard that contributes to the deaths of approximately 3000 Australians a year. A recent study by Deloitte Access Economics estimates more than one Australian will die every day, or 394 a year, from falling asleep at the wheel of a vehicle, or from industrial accidents, due to lack of sleep. As well as the negative impact of inadequate sleep on health and wellbeing, the report also calculates that the financial cost to Australia is $66 billion.

In 2018 Sleep Disorders Australia launched campaigns in Queensland and Tasmania to educate people about the dangers of driving when tired. We hope to extend our campaign nationally.

Signs of Drowsiness


  • Heavy eyelids, eyes closing, frequent blinking, or trouble focusing

  • Trouble keeping your head up

  • Drifting between lanes, hitting a shoulder

  • Constant yawning, rubbing your eyes

  • Daydreaming/wandering thoughts

  • Difficulty concentrating on driving, missing exits or traffic signs

Tips for staying safe on the road
  • Make sure you have had plenty of sleep before you leave

  • Be aware of the effects of medications you are taking (some may increase drowsiness)

  • If you have to drive a long distance share the driving with someone else

  • Don't rush. It’s better to arrive at your destination safe than on time

  • Do not drink alcohol. Even very small amounts of alcohol will enhance drowsiness

  • Avoid driving between 1am and 6am, this is a time when sleepiness is most intense



If you are feeling sleepy, stop driving immediately. The only cure for sleepiness is sleep.

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