One in six bus drivers has fallen asleep driving at least once in the last year, a survey reveals.
And one in five (21%) “fight sleepiness” at least two or three times a week.
The report also found 36% had a “close call” on the roads due to tiredness in the past year. One in 20 (5%) had been in at least one accident in the past year because of fatigue.
Loughborough University surveyed 1,353 of London’s 25,000 bus drivers for Transport for London and concluded fatigue was “a problem”.
Researchers said factors included prolonged driving conditions, 24-hour operations and congestion.
The giant Unite union, which represents most bus drivers, pressed for the ground-breaking study after raising concerns about fatigue with Transport for London and has welcomed the findings.
Unite says major causes of fatigue are workers undertaking excessive hours due to inadequate levels of pay, a lack of recovery time between poorly scheduled shifts and overly long shifts without sufficient rest breaks.
Union officials are pressing London’s 10 bus operators to introduce civilised rotas, provide decent driver facilities and replace ‘disciplinarian culture’ in garages with a more worker-friendly one.
Unite regional officer John Murphy said: “TfL must take decisive action and force bus operators to stop flogging their workers to the point of exhaustion.
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