Drivers falling asleep at the wheel could account for 20% of motorway crashes and 10% of all crashes, according to Government research.
The research also claimed that 40% of 'drowsy driving' accidents are work-related, mainly involving commercial vehicles such as trucks and vans. Transport Minister David Jamieson revealed the figures as he launched a renewed battle to stop drivers taking to the road when tired.
A new advertising campaign shows the horrific consequences of falling asleep at the wheel, as a driver with his family in the car smashes into a motorway central reservation and overturns.
Research was carried out by experts at the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University and shows there are distinct times of drowsiness, from 2am to 7am and 2pm to 4pm.
Jamieson said: 'The Highways Agency will be using its 394 motorway message signs to highlight this problem. Every driver should consider the issue, on every journey.
'Falling asleep is something that could happen to any driver, of any age.' The importance of the campaign was driven home by the Selby rail crash, which was caused by a van driver falling asleep at the wheel and driving on to the tracks in front of an express train.