• Asleep at the Siren

    Impacts of fatigue on emergency response driving

  • Introduction

    Emergency responders are often required to navigate complex traffic, at high speeds, with unpredictable road-users, all while conducting cognitively demanding tasks like formulating treatment plans. Each of these demands by itself can impact driving performance, while emergency responders must perform under all simultaneously. Driving under lights and sirens is extremely challenging even for those well trained and requires a driver to balance sharp reflexes with high levels of situational awareness. But emergencies do not follow a 9am-5pm schedule, and responders must be prepared to drive at all hours of the day. The effects of fatigue on driving, cognitive performance, and response times are well known, but this has yet to be explored in the context of emergency response driving, where the consequences of errors can be disastrous for the physical and mental wellness of responders and other road users. 

    The Aim

    Our aim is to understand the role of fatigue during emergency response driving. In doing so, we hope to support policy and practice such that paramedics, and other road users can be safer during emergency calls. We are doing so in two separate experiments that we need participants for. If you are local to Gold Coast, you can come and complete a driving simulation task. If you are not local to Gold Coast, you can still help – by letting us know about your experiences of driving while fatigued in a short, open-ended questionnaire. 

    Why is this Important?

    Driver fatigue research is plentiful in the civilian domain, but not within emergency services. This study will explore the unique effects of driver fatigue on our specialised population who are required to drive under conditions civilian drivers do not. We will also examine potential interventions to fatigue, to see if this may improve driving performance. Using a mixed-methods approach, made up of experimental and survey measures, we aim to provide the profession with scientifically based research findings. The project will be run by researchers at Griffith University, Gold Coast.    

    Further Information?

    The experiment held on the Gold Coast in the driver simulator laboratory (Sign up here - https://forms.office.com/r/iFYaB6r9ti ) 


    You can complete a  Short Questionnaire on Paramedic Fatigue in the workplace (Link here - https://forms.office.com/r/UztnLQBqE5 ) 


    The research study has approval from Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee: GU Ref No: 2022/387 For further details, please contact Honours Student Researcher: Justine Hamilton, Email: justine.hamilton@griffithuni.edu.au