YouTube videos of drowsy drivers give useful insights into how people perceive sleepy driving as a common yet controllable behaviour, according to a new study.
"In-vehicle footage relating to driver fatigue is present on YouTube and is actively engaged with by viewers," said author Ashleigh Filtness from Australia's Queensland University of Technology's (QUT) Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety.
"My study found a mix of both criticism and sympathy for fatigued drivers and a willingness to share advice on staying awake, which highlights the perception that people view sleepy driving as a common yet controllable behaviour," said Filtness.
The study observed 442 uploaded YouTube videos relating to fatigue between 2009 and 2014, and found in most cases driver fatigue was portrayed as dangerous. A total of 107 of these videos were in-vehicle filming. However, Filtness said those that trivialised the issue of sleepy driving were more popular and received more views and evoked more comments.
"Of the in-vehicle filming, dashcam footage was the most prevalent type of video and had the most potential to create impact with the highest views per video per day." "What is concerning is that 15 percent of these in-vehicle videos were drivers recording themselves while driving."
"Video blogging or vlogging distracts the driver in the same way as texting and mobile phone use, and adds to the danger already being experienced by fatigued driving," she said. Filtness presented her findings at the 2015 Australasian Road Safety Conference held from October 14 to 16 at the Australasian College of Road Safety and Austroads, Gold Coast.