Driver Drowsiness and Fatigue

Image of a truck driving at nighttime - a prime scenario for driver drowsiness.
Understanding, Identifying and Reducing Their Occurrence and Impacts

Did you know? It is estimated that more than one in four CMV drivers in the U.S. has sleep apnea, and the majority of sufferers are undiagnosed and untreated.


Driver impairment due to drowsiness and fatigue is known to be a major contributing factor in thousands of truck crashes each year. While this reduced alertness has impacted nearly all drivers, this issue continues to plague our transportation system. Driver drowsiness and fatigue is a sociotechnical issue that relates to the choices the driver makes hours before the drive (e.g., activities, sustenance), the circumstances and forces the driver faces during his daily tasks (e.g., job requirements and pressures), the support the driver receives from his employer through management of work schedules, and the technologies provided to detect and monitor the onset of drowsiness.

The goal of this module is to convey an understanding of truck driver drowsiness and fatigue. More specifically, the module will help safety managers: identify the onset of drowsy and fatigued driving in the context of commercial vehicle operations, understand the countermeasures drivers typically choose to combat drowsiness, and recognize the systematic barriers that hinder drivers from making prudent decisions regarding maintaining their alertness. Finally, the module will suggest possible measures that safety managers can take for detecting drowsiness and fatigue as well as tools they can employ to manage/reduce the occurrence of driver drowsiness and fatigue in their fleets.

Learning Objectives

This course covers:

  • Understanding the problem.
  • Detecting and monitoring driver fatigue and drowsiness.
  • Fatigue management tools.

Preview This Module

Download “Driver Drowsiness/Fatigue” Drowsiness_Bowman__Feb14.pptx – 4 MB