NZTA prescribes sleep to keep drivers awake, alert and safe

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and Clemenger BBDO want to make sure drivers stay awake at the wheel, in a new spot that shows the risks of driving while tired.

‘Dead on their feet’ follows a worker heading home after a night shift. However, viewers can assume he doesn’t make it as his fatigue sees him fall asleep at the wheel.

According to the NZTA, driver fatigue is a factor in 13 percent of crashes, which resulted in 33 deaths and 150 serious injuries in 2014. It says most crashes occur on the drive home from work.

The human body is designed to sleep for seven to eight hours at night and be awake during the day, while on average shift workers tend to get one or two hours less. They often work irregular hours that impact on sleep and regularly drive home when their body is programmed to be asleep.

Because of this, NZTA senior education advisor Adrian Stephenson says people who work unusual hours are six times more likely to be involved in a car crash than other workers.

“While tiredness is an everyday human condition, there are times when you’re really exhausted. Shift workers can all recall nights they’ve felt seriously tired. The ad asks them to recognise this feeling and see it as dangerous. It also offers a simple way to reduce risk.”

To prevent driving while tired, ‘Dead on their feet’ urges drivers to have a nap before heading home when they feel more tired than usual.

According to the NZTA, research shows a 15 to 20 minute nap, and no longer, is effective in restoring wakefulness, alertness and focus. All other ‘remedies’, such as drinking coffee, increasing the radio volume or winding down the window only mask the tiredness.

To help drivers assess their driving ability, NZTA has created a fatigue calculator, which indicates the best action for drivers to take based on how much sleep they have had.

The campaign is running across TV, on demand, radio, digital, online and social media as well as industry specific placements. To ensure shift workers also get the message, PR packs have been produced for organisations with shift workers.

This is the fourth campaign the NZTA has rolled out this year, following ads to stop people driving while stoned, breaking restricted license rules and using mobile phones while driving.

Last year’s campaign to stop drink driving is also still on air.

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