For many years, the research into fatigued driving focused largely on long-haul truck drivers. While the trucking industry is certainly one group impacted by drowsy driving, the problem extends far wider. Americans get nearly an hour less sleep per night than they did in 1965. The impact of that is felt in many areas of life, not least of all on the roads. More than 100,000 accidents per year are caused by drowsy drivers, including an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 fatal car and truck accidents.
The causes of drowsy driving are numerous. Like drinking and driving, the unsafe conduct begins before the driver gets behind the wheel. In the case of sleep deprivation, the problem may occur several hours before driver starts the car. The drivers themselves often do not realize that they are really too tired to drive safely.