It has been estimated that drivers who are sleepy have as much as a 13 fold higher risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident than well-rested drivers. These sleepy drivers are as dangerous on the road as those who are intoxicated. The National Highway Transportation Board in the United States attributes more than 1500 deaths a year to sleepy drivers.
If sleepy automobile drivers are frightening, think about the same sleepy driver behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler. Some estimates point out that as much as 28 percent of truckers may be affected by sleep apnea because of their sedentary life style, eating habits and obesity. The U.S. DOT is proposing that truckers be screened for sleep apnea before getting their license.
Recently several pilots in Hawaii fell asleep and overshot the airport to which they were heading by 15 miles.
And it's not just motor vehicle accidents, sleepiness has been implicated in:
- Three Mile Island nuclear accident - March 28, 1979
- Space Shuttle Challenger - January 28, 1986
- Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster - April 25, 1986
- Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
- Star Princess Cruise Ship Grounded - June 22, 1995
- Michigan Train wreck - November 15, 2001