Matt Greenop on motoring

Matt Greenop is editor of Driven magazine

Matt Greenop: Dozing at the wheel

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Should Police target sleeping drivers  at check points?. Photo / Glenn Taylor
Should Police target sleeping drivers at check points?. Photo / Glenn Taylor

Not surprisingly, I try to avoid using the "c" word in print too much. The reason for this is that every time I mention cycling, the lycra universe explodes in a cloud of vitriol and misdirected angst and we're accused of hating our pedal-pushing compadres.

Whilst it is true that I regard those on bikes who run red lights and execute other dangerous and illegal moves on the road with about as much charity as I do driving in the fast lane at 80km/h like some half-baked school hall monitor, the guts of the matter is that we all want to keep safe.

Nobody wants to run someone over (aside from nutters) and none of us want to be responsible for injuring someone - or worse - whether they're in a car, on a motorbike, treadley or even on a skateboard or walking.

Cyclists, at least those who swing both ways, will know just how big the safety problem is in the cities from their time behind the wheel for everyone on the road, no matter what their mode of transport. Realistically our safety levels are entirely dependent on how much attention other people out there are paying to what's going on around them.

Sit in traffic in Auckland on any given day and there are people reading, surreptitiously texting, doing hair and make-up - I even saw a bloke having a shave this week, but he was obviously a very important man because he was in a BMW 7 Series.

Even if you're the best driver in the world, even a millisecond's lapse can lead to tragic results. That's why the powers that be in Aussie are investing heavily in research into sleepy drivers - with the end goal of roadside alertness spit tests to catch those who aren't all there.

Research says one in five serious road injuries in Aussie are caused by impaired alertness and that 18 per cent of people have less than six hours' sleep a night.

Add cellphones, well-toned waterfront joggers, talkback and other distractions, and it's no wonder we take our lives into our hands every time we hit the road.

What are your thoughts on the Australian plan? Let us know below or on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DrivenNZ - that is if you're not too sleepy.

- NZ Herald

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