Driver fatigue and road accidents

  • Published: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 2011
  • Authors: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
  • Date Added: 07 Apr 2016
  • Last Update: 07 Apr 2016
  • Format: pdf


To review published research and data concerning:

  1. a) the scale of the sleep related RTI problem;
  2. b) the causes of driver fatigue; and,
  3. c) potential measures to reduce RTIs caused by sleepy drivers.


The literature research was conducted through RoSPA’s Information Centre, a Transport 2000 CD-ROM and the internet. The main UK research considered in this report is the various studies into sleep related road RTIs by Professor Horne at the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, and TRL research. International studies, particularly from the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, have also been considered.

Key Findings:

  • Driver fatigue is a major cause of RTIs, accounting for up to 20 per cent of serious RTIs on motorways and monotonous roads in Great Britain.

  • Journeys involving long periods of driving on monotonous roads, such as motorways, are more likely to result in a driver falling asleep at the wheel.

  • The early hours of the morning and the middle of the afternoon are the peak times for fatigue RTIs, and long journeys on monotonous roads, particularly motorways, are the most likely to result in a driver falling asleep.




Good review document with quantifiable findings.