Driver Fatigue - Who is most at Risk?

All Drivers who Are:

  • Sleep-deprived or fatigued
  • Driving long distances without rest breaks
  • Driving through the night, the early afternoon, or at other times when they are normally asleep
  • Taking medication that increases sleepiness or drinking alcohol
  • Driving alone
  • Driving on long, rural, boring roads
  • Frequent travelers, e.g., business travelers

Young People

Sleep-related crashes are most common in young people, who tend to stay up late, sleep too little, and drive at night.

Shift Workers

Studies suggest that 20 to 30% of those with non- traditional work schedules have had a fatigue-related driving mishap within the last year. The drive home from work after the night shift is likely to be a particularly dangerous one.

Commercial Drivers

Truck drivers are especially susceptible to fatigue-related crashes. In addition to the high number of miles driven each year, many truckers may drive during the night when the body is sleepiest. Truckers may also have a high prevalence of a sleep and breathing disorder called sleep apnea. Studies suggest truck-driver fatigue may be a contributing factor in at least 30 to 40 percent of all heavy truck accidents.

People with Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders

The presence of a sleep disorder increases the risk of crashes. Disorders such as chronic insomnia, sleep apnea and narcolepsy, all of which lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, afflict potential motorists. Most people with sleep disorders remain undiagnosed and untreated. Sleep apnea occurs in 4% of middle-aged men and 2% of middle-aged women. The disorder is associated with a three to seven time increase in crash risk.

Also view:

Driver Fatigue and Road Safety

Energy Drinks, Driver Alertness/ Tiredness and Safe Driving 


We would like to advise visitors to also view these other pages:

Driver tiredness is one of the most significant threats to safety of all road users. This is often seen as one of the "driver distractions" taking the eyes and concentration of the driver away from driving. Driver tiredness often leads to head-on collisions and rollover crashes.

On the Arrive Alive website this is discussed on several pages with reference to Driver tiredness, Driver Fatigue and Drowsiness.

Driver Fatigue and Road Safety

Driver Tiredness

Facts about Drowsy Driving Internationally

Fatigue and Road Safety [Fleetwatch info for fleet operators]

European Report on Fatigue

Actions for the Drowsy Driver

Energy Drinks, Driver Alertness and Safe Driving

Endurance Sports, Driver Fatigue and Road Safety