This paper presents an improvement of classification performance for electroencephalography (EEG)-based driver fatigue classification between fatigue and alert states with the data collected from 43 participants. The system employs autoregressive (AR) modeling as the features extraction algorithm, and sparse-deep belief networks (sparse-DBN) as the classification algorithm. Compared to other classifiers, sparse-DBN is a semi supervised learning method which combines unsupervised learning for modeling features in the pre-training layer and supervised learning for classification in the following layer. The sparsity in sparse-DBN is achieved with a regularization term that penalizes a deviation of the expected activation of hidden units from a fixed low-level prevents the network from overfitting and is able to learn low-level structures as well as high-level structures. For comparison, the artificial neural networks (ANN), Bayesian neural networks (BNN), and original deep belief networks (DBN) classifiers are used. The classification results show that using AR feature extractor and DBN classifiers, the classification performance achieves an improved classification performance with a of sensitivity of 90.8%, a specificity of 90.4%, an accuracy of 90.6%, and an area under the receiver operating curve (AUROC) of 0.94 compared to ANN (sensitivity at 80.8%, specificity at 77.8%, accuracy at 79.3% with AUC-ROC of 0.83) and BNN classifiers (sensitivity at 84.3%, specificity at 83%, accuracy at 83.6% with AUROC of 0.87). Using the sparse-DBN classifier, the classification performance improved further with sensitivity of 93.9%, a specificity of 92.3%, and an accuracy of 93.1% with AUROC of 0.96. Overall, the sparse-DBN classifier improved accuracy by 13.8, 9.5, and 2.5% over ANN, BNN, and DBN classifiers, respectively.