Fatigue, or drowsiness, is known to degrade driving performance by slowing reaction time, impairing judgment and situational awareness, and increasing attentional lapses as well as the occurrence of microsleeps. The purpose of the present study was to provide updated estimates of the prevalence of selfreported drowsy driving using data from a nationally-representative survey of drivers conducted in 2015.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducts research with a focus toward creating a social climate where traffic safety is highly valued and rigorously pursed. The 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index found that finds that 96% of drivers consider it to be unacceptable for someone to drive when they are so sleepy that they have a hard time keeping their eyes open.
This study addresses two key questions regarding the causes of sleep-related accidents: 1) Can drivers anticipate sleep onset well enough to avoid sleep-related accidents? 2) How do drivers use physiological cues of sleepiness in making judgments regarding the riskiness of continued driving?
Excessive sleepiness may result in an increased risk of a motor vehicle crash either
because the motorist falls asleep while driving or because he experiences reduced attention to road events and driving tasks due to fatigue/sleepiness.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year up to 100,000 police-reported crashes (about 1.5% of all crashes) involve drowsiness or fatigue as a principal cause, injuring at least 71,000 people, and killing at least 1,500.