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HGV driver fell asleep and drove into oncoming traffic on the motorway

A HGV driver falling asleep at the wheel veered across two lanes of the M62 and broke though the central reservation. After waking up, he continued to drive against oncoming traffic for around five minutes before turning off at the next junction.

The driver was jailed for nine months and banned from driving for four years and four months.

A dash-cam recorded the incident. The footage, which is probably most drivers’ worst nightmare can be seen on BBC News.

Since the incident the driver has been diagnosed with sleep apnoea. According to research published in 2014 Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) affects 5% of the population but is often undiagnosed. Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) is a severe form of sleep apnoea which may lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, see blog post.

Fatigue contributes for up to 20% of motorway accidents. It also increases the severity of an accident, as driver reactions are impaired.

You are legally obliged to tell DVLA if you have been diagnosed with OSAS or any sleepiness sufficient to impair driving. The DVLA’s Medical Group will send you a questionnaire. In the meantime, you are advised to stop driving until your condition has been successfully treated.

Failure to advise DVLA of a medical condition is a criminal offence and may affect the validity of insurance cover.

Employers need to understand the status of their drivers’ licenses and are advised to use a managed driving licence verification service such as SmartLicence to conduct licence checks in accordance with the risk profiles of their drivers.

Posted on: 19.01.2018

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