A new research project which aims to reduce the number of road crashes caused by sleepiness has been launched.

The three-year SleepiEST project will monitor shift-workers who drive either as part of their work, or when commuting – with the data being used to estimate and predict motorists’ fatigue levels.

The Road Safety Trust has awarded funding to Nottingham Trent University (NTU) to carry out the study, working alongside the National Police Wellbeing Service.

The project will focus on police officers and other police employees and will result in a publicly available online fatigue management tool.

The project is being led by Professor John Groeger and Dr Fran Pilkington-Cheney, psychologists and sleep experts from NTU’s School of Social Sciences.

“Due to various shift patterns and circadian related factors, sleepiness is prevalent within shift working populations, and has the potential to be particularly dangerous when safety critical tasks are involved,” said Dr Pilkington-Cheney.

“Our research aims to explore the risk of sleepiness when driving, both during shifts, but also before and after shifts, as commuting can often be overlooked in terms of risk.”