REST-STOPS AS A PLANNING ENGINEERING OPTION TO FATIGUE
Keywords:Crash, fatigue, rest-stops, Mombasa Road
Road accidents on the Kenyan roads claim about 3,000 lives annually. It is estimated that the economy further looses approximately Ksh. 14 billion or 5 % of its gross domestic product too on accident related expenses (MoTC, 2004). However, this intractable problem persists amidst efforts to introduce measures including enforcement to use seatbelts and insertion of speed-governors. In an effort to understand some of the underlying causes, this study examined travellers’ perception of fatigue as a contributor to crashes. Both empirical and exploratory research methodology was used to capture the opinions of the road users and to get statistical information by carrying out a survey of 715 road- users on Mombasa Road. The results showed the occurrence of fatigue to be a major cause of 87 %, 83 % and 82 % of the nodding off, exhaustion and yawning experienced respectively by passengers. Similar results were reported for drivers. The effects of fatigue were attributed to poor road conditions by 76 % and long periods of sitting by 64 % of the passengers interviewed. To counter fatigue effects, 72 % and 79 % of the private car and truck drivers respectively stopped to relax at petrol stations. The use of open countryside was cited by 53 % of the passengers interviewed as an alternative place to stop. The results underscore the need to devise effective measures that will relieve fatigue but at the same time be environmentally sound. Indeed well planned rest-stops by location, proximity to urban centres, at black spots and near scenic viewing points can provide avenues to re-energize and provide an escape from driving under hazardous conditions and also be used as a point to enjoy the special characters of region.