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19 were used. The highest rated management method to coun- ities. They reported fewer instances of safety training than the tering fatigue was scheduling a full block of rest. This was company managers reported. However, all groups identified also the most highly reported technique actually being used. safety training as the single most important intervention to Not surprisingly, the focus groups also strongly supported manage driver fatigue. uninterrupted sleep as a key feature of any fatigue manage- ment program. The method that was judged second most effective was pro- Scheduling viding regular schedules to the motorcoach operators. Yet when asked how often such regular schedules were provided, The responses about scheduling also matched those of the answers split between "sometimes" and "often." "Always" motorcoach company managers and supervisors. Both central- was not selected by any of the respondents. Although the focus ized and local scheduling were seen as often being used; local groups were not asked specific questions about scheduling, the scheduling was seen as a more important contributor to fatigue need for regular scheduling was identified as another key to management. Flexible scheduling was seen as an important tool but not used as often as it could be. combating driver fatigue. Figures 4 and 5 show the survey response distribution for Managers expressed skepticism about caffeine as an effec- the series of questions probing the topics discussed above. tive fatigue fighter, but also reported that caffeine is either often The research community responses to the survey indicate or always used by the motorcoach operators to overcome a strong belief that fatigue has a significant effect on motor- fatigue. Managers expressed some interest in technological coach operator performance. However, even among this interventions, but this interest was tinged with skepticism. group, more than one-half expressed a belief that there were There were no reported instances of a company actually using no crashes of motorcoaches in the last 2 years caused by any of these new technologies. Table 1 shows the distribution fatigue. They did, however, attribute from 25% to 75% of of responses across the motorcoach manager and supervisor near misses and other incidents to fatigue. Although the opin- survey for the countermeasure questions. ion on the degree of effect of fatigue on motorcoach operator performance varied from minimal to significant, no respon- RESULTS OF RESEARCH SCIENTIST SURVEY dent believed it had no effect at all. The members of the research community who responded Strategies for Combating Fatigue to the synthesis survey averaged 13 years' conducting trans- portation research and more than 8 years' conducting fatigue The survey of the research group also asked how effective research. Slightly over 70 research scientists were contacted were several methods of fighting fatigue and also how often for the survey and 22 responded. The entire survey is in each of these methods was used. The highest rated method to Appendix B. countering fatigue was scheduling a full block of rest, although this group ranked regular scheduling as equally important. Training and Education These two methods were also the most highly reported tech- niques actually being used. For this group, these two methods Respondents expressed their views of the approaches motor- were much more effective than caffeine. coach companies take to managing the fatigue of the motor- The research group was more skeptical than the industry coach operators. They identified the distribution of safety professionals of the effectiveness of caffeine, sleeping aids, or literature and safety training as two common company activ- listening to the radio to manage fatigue. They did state a TABLE 1 Motorcoach company managers and supervisors perceived effectiveness and frequency of use mean responses for fatigue countermeasures (N8) EFFECTIVENESS FREQUENCY 1=Not at all, 5=Very 1=Never, 5=Always Caffeine 2.5 4.3 Sleeping aids 1.5 1.8 Full block of rest 4.8 3.8 Regular schedule 4.4 3.6 Talking with others 2.8 3.0 Listening to the radio 2.5 3.0 Using 2 drivers 3.5 2.7 Technologies 2.6 1.0
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20 Use Flexibility Use Two Drivers Activity Use Local System Use Centralized System Conduct Training Distribute Materials 1 2 3 4 5 Never Always Figure 4. Researchers' perception of how often motorcoach companies perform activities. belief that in-vehicle technologies showed promise of becom- to crashes (a supposition supported by traffic crash data) but ing somewhat effective in combating the driving performance is seen as a problem to be addressed, nonetheless. The best decrements stemming from fatigue. current approaches to managing driver fatigue do not require The research scientists also judged that companies were re- major investments but do require management commitment: lying on caffeine and listening to the radio. They are aware opportunities for good sleep, regular schedules that provide that, currently, companies are not using technological inter- adequate rest periods, and access to caffeinated beverages. ventions to counter motorcoach operator fatigue. The skepticism about new fatigue management technolo- Table 2 shows the distribution of responses across the gies by motorcoach company managers is not shared by the research scientist survey for the countermeasure questions. research community. As much as anything this skepticism The results of the two surveys plus the earlier focus groups reflects the stage of development of those technologies. The reveal consistent points of view about motorcoach operators lack of skepticism may also reflect a better understanding of and fatigue. Fatigue does not appear to be a major contributor driver fatigue on the part of the research group. Use Flexibility Use Two Drivers Use Local System Activity Use Centralized System Conduct Training Distribute Materials 1 2 3 4 5 Not Important Very Important Figure 5. Importance rating for each activity for preventing fatigue.
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21 TABLE 2 Transportation and fatigue research scientists perceived effectiveness and frequency of use mean responses for fatigue countermeasures (N22) Effectiveness Frequency 1 = not at all, 5 = very 1 = never, 5 = always Caffeine 2.3 3.5 Sleeping aids 2.0 2.1 Full block of rest 4.4 3.5 Regular schedule 4.8 3.5 Talking with others 2.8 2.5 Listening to the radio 2.0 2.8 Using 2 drivers 3.3 2.2 Technologies 3.0 1.3