The Office of Crash Avoidance Research, a subset of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), released a report citing driver drowsiness as one of the leading causes of car accidents in 1991. Studies show that staying awake for more than 20 hours has an impairment effect equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, the legal limit in all states.

In 1994, NHTSA released a summary report from 1989-1993 about accidents involving fatigue. Passenger vehicles counted as 95.9 percent of the accidents, but the overall problem of driver fatigue was higher for

Truck driving on a empty rode with clear skies, fatigued driver
NHSTA reports that 100,000 crashes are a direct result of driver fatigue each year.

commercial vehicle drivers. The crashes involving truck drivers were more severe overall; the fatality to crash ratio was 1.7 times more than those involving passenger vehicles. Because of this, accidents involving truck drivers are monitored more closely to ensure that safety precautions are being upheld. 

Fatigue has been an ongoing danger to truck drivers. Fifteen percent of all fatal single-truck crashes list driver fatigue as the most recurring factor to crashes where a truck driver is fatally injured. Truck drivers falling asleep is the primary reason for a crash 7 percent of the time and in 2012, almost 40 percent of polled truck drivers said they rarely had a good night’s sleep during the week.

In a 2009 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 1.9 million people had crashes or a near miss because of driver fatigue. Fifty-four percent of people polled said they had driven while fatigued at least once during the year, while 28 percent said they drove while fatigued at least once per month. Currently, NHSTA reports that 100,000 crashes are a direct result of driver fatigue each year. These crashes caused 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion lost in damages.

Are you driving drowsy? Here are some causes of driver fatigue:

  • Greater daytime sleepiness
  • Difficult schedules
  • More hours of work
  • Time of day
  • Level of driving experience
  • Amount of sleep debt  


Sleep deprivation adds up, so losing even one to two hours of sleep per night can cause serious problems over time. The only solution to fixing sleep debt is by getting extra sleep when able. You may think you aren’t fatigued, but you very well could be. Be sure to sleep enough and do not get on the road if you feel drowsy.

If you believe your accident was a result of driver fatigue, please contact an attorney at Hupy and Abraham, S.C. today.


Jill Erin Wellskopf
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Director of Marketing, Hupy and Abraham