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17 that survey with the results of a series of focus groups of the motorcoach company who works with drivers (e.g., dispatch- same constituency reported in 1999 (Arrowhead Space and ers and tour group planners) should be trained on driver fatigue Telecommunications, Inc., 1999). The results of the survey issues. All groups also identified training as one of the most and the Arrowhead focus groups (described below) are re- important activities in alerting drivers to the effects of and markably similar and reflect the general practices and percep- countermeasures to fatigue. tions of motorcoach industry management and supervisors. Both the survey groups and the focus groups believe that The focus group sessions were designed to determine the motorcoach operators are aware of and understand current issues and operating situations that are unique within the Federal HOS regulations. The survey group agreed that all motorcoach industry and which contribute to driver fatigue. motorcoach operators know these regulations. The focus groups of particular interest to this synthesis were made up of owners, operation managers, safety directors, and Scheduling drivers. A series of five focus group sessions were convened by Arrowhead Space and Telecommunications, Inc. An addi- The single most frequent method for addressing motor- tional focus group session was conducted by an operator for its coach operator fatigue is local scheduling. Somewhat contra- drivers. One hundred and twenty-five people participated in dictory, neither the survey nor focus group ranked local the focus groups. A complete description of this process can scheduling as significantly important. In companies with mul- be found in the Arrowhead (1999) report. tiple locations, centralized scheduling systems are sometimes used but are not viewed as particularly effective for address- ing fatigue issues. However, managers did say their compa- RESULTS OF INDUSTRY SURVEY nies were often flexible in scheduling and that schedule flexibility is moderately important in dealing with motor- All of the survey respondents reported that their companies' coach driver fatigue. The focus groups also identified sched- primary business is charters/tours. The average age of vehi- uling as a good way to control the fatigue of drivers. cles for these companies is 5 to 7 years with a range of 5 years Figures 1 and 2 show the survey response distribution for to 11 years. The average vehicle fleet for the respondent's the series of questions probing the topics discussed above. companies is 48 vehicles with a range of 10 to 170 vehicles. Passengers Training and Education Although passengers on motorcoaches are seen as prob- Respondents and participants all reported that they included lems, their effects on fatigue are not well known. Both the fatigue and fatigue countermeasure information in their driver survey and focus group members identified passengers as educational materials and as part of their regular training pro- creating stress, but neither group was very specific about grams. In terms of frequency, survey respondents reported that what passengers do that is stressful. Instances of passengers they sometimes distributed materials and always conducted specifically giving driving directions (e.g., drive faster) to training. The focus groups also recommended that anyone in a motorcoach drivers were cited as rare or an event that occurs Use Flexibility Use Two Drivers Use Local System Activity Use Centralized System Conduct Training Distribute Materials 1 2 3 4 5 Never Always Figure 1. Industry representatives' perception of how often their companies perform activities.
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18 Use Flexibility Use Two Drivers Use Local System Activity Use Centralized System Conduct Training Distribute Materials 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Not Important Very Important Figure 2. Importance rating for each activity for preventing fatigue. only sometimes. Passenger requests to ignore the HOS regu- Significance of Fatigue lations were mentioned only slightly more frequently. All groups described the non-driving interactions with pas- There was general agreement among the managers and sengers to be serious problems leading to fatigue. Loading supervisors in both the survey and focus groups that fatigue and unloading luggage, passenger assistance, and ticket affects motorcoach driving performance. One-half of the sur- handing were all identified as both fatigue inducing and as vey group identified it as having a significant effect. Yet 75% of this same group reported zero crashes in their companies limiting opportunities to rest. attributed to driver fatigue in the past 2 years. One-half did An indirect result of transporting passengers is the oppor- not even know of a near-miss where fatigue might have been tunity for motorcoach operators to sleep in hotel or motel a factor. The focus groups also reported very few fatigue- beds. The survey group reported that 100% of their drivers related crashes. sleep in hotels (90% in the same hotel as where the passen- gers are lodged). The focus groups also identified this as the Strategies for Combating Fatigue motorcoach operator's major defense against fatigue. Figure 3 shows the survey response distribution for the series The survey asked how effective were several methods of of questions probing passengers' interactions with drivers. fighting fatigue and also how often each of these methods Perform Non-driving Activities Interfere with Driving Action Insist Drive Longer Insist Drive Slower Insist Drive Faster 1 2 3 4 5 Never Always Figure 3. Frequency of requests that passengers make of drivers.