Fatigued driving and the law. Drivers punished of fatigued driving

Vasymys tieliikenteessa ja laki. Keita rangaistaan ja milloin?

The Finnish Road Traffic Act (RTA) explicitly forbids driving while tired in Article 63 (3.8.1990/676), which addresses the driver's fitness to drive: A person that does not meet the requirements for driving because of illness or tiredness or another similar reason or whose health condition no longer fulfills the requirements needed for granting a driver's license must not drive a vehicle. It is unknown how many drivers are punished because of fatigued driving under Article 63 and what the actual consequences are of such fatigued driving. Therefore, the aim of the study was to explore how this law is applied in practice and to determine the circumstances of fatigue driving offenses, including the identification of risk factors and risk groups. From the Finnish Vehicle Administration driver record database we extracted all drivers (N=768) punished under Article 63 from 2004-2005 and ordered corresponding prosecutor and court decisions. Of these drivers, 694 (90.4%) committed a fatigue-related traffic offense. Accidents, predominantly single vehicle, were the most common (92.5%) consequence of fatigued driving. Almost every twentieth driver was punished because his vehicle was drifting on the road. Although fatigue-related accidents are thought to be serious, the present data shows that most of the accidents (81.6%) did not involve personal injuries. In 17.1% of the accidents somebody was slightly or seriously injured and eight accidents (1.2%) were fatal. The presence of alcohol or drugs was noted in 13% of the cases. Young men (=35 yrs) represented 50% of all punished drivers. Time of day and seasonal effects were clear in this data. Only 3.1% of the punished drivers officially denied being tired or falling asleep. A large majority of drivers (96.1%)were punished of endangering traffic safety. In most cases (82.1%) drivers received a punishment directly from police whose decision was approved by a prosecutor office. Some cases went to a district court (16.4%) and only few went further to a court of appeal (1.4%). How the cases were dealt with depended mostly on other drivers' actions/crimes rather than on the severity of fatigue inducing behavior. A day-fine was the most predominant (90.3%) type of punishment with an average number of 16 day-fines. Several interesting cases were presented in more detailed. This study shows that even without a reliable fatigue detector and unambiguous criteria for recognizing the contribution of fatigue to accident causation, Finnish police and the courts punish a significant number of drivers every year on the basis of fatigue. Different legal approaches to fatigued driving were extensively discussed. This report may be found at http://www.liikenneturva.fi/www/fi/tutkimus/tutkimusmonisteet/liitetiedostot/Vsymys-tieliikenteess-ja-laki-netti-pdf.pdf

Language

  • Finnish

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01146892
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: TRL
  • ISBN: 978-951-560-163-6
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Dec 24 2009 8:26AM