Fatigue has long been considered a factor in trucking accidents, and affecting long haul drivers in particular. In the USA it has been estimated that fatigue was a factor in over 50% of motor vehicle accidents, with a related cost of over $37 billion. A US lawyer specialising in trucking accidents litigation has suggested US National Transportation Safety Board Studies indicate driver fatigue is a significant factor in 20% of all truck accident fatalities and 7% of truck accidents overall. In a NTSB survey of drivers a third admitted they had fallen asleep at the wheel in the previous 12 months.
Causes of driver fatigue are many and varied. Lifestyle, body metabolism, diet and hydration, amount of sleep and rest, alcohol & drug consumption, medical conditions, are but a few of the factors that induce or cause fatigue. In 2000 joint research by the University of Otago and the University of New South Wales focussed on sleep deprivation as a significant cause of driver fatigue.