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22 CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS FINDINGS There has been very little objective research conducted on over-the-road bus operators and this is particularly Although major research studies into operator fatigue have true when it comes to fatigue research. been reported, motorcoach operators have not been included Fatigue countermeasures that work for over-the-road truck in those studies. Although the similarities between over-the- operators should work for over-the-road bus operators as road truck drivers and over-the-road bus drivers are many, the well. Both bus and truck operators drive large vehicles latter also have unique situations that may either increase or on long, over-the-road routes. There is no evidence that decrease incidences of fatigue. bus and truck operators are drawn from different work- Managers surveyed for this and other studies reported very force populations; they are also subject to the same few bus crashes associated with bus operator fatigue. The work related pressures, schedules, and challenges. research personnel responding to the survey believe that bus The effects that passengers have on either combating or operator fatigue may be a significant contributor to over-the- amplifying fatigue in bus operators have not been well road safety incidents. However, there is little statistical sup- documented. port for that belief. Bus company managers identified operator training as a major countermeasure to bus operator fatigue. The researchers RECOMMENDATIONS also identified rest and regular schedules as key features of A research study on the specific effects of fatigue on any fatigue countermeasure program. over-the-road bus operators should be conducted. Managers reported significant pressure from passengers to Any research into either causes of fatigue or fatigue have bus operator's drive for longer periods. They also countermeasures should include over-the-road bus reported that as many as 75% of bus operators also handle drivers as part of the subject pool. passenger luggage. Over-the-road bus companies and associations should Both drivers and managers believe that nearly all bus oper- be encouraged to provide counter-fatigue products, ators are familiar with current Federal HOS regulations. training on fatigue effects, and combating fatigue infor- mation and support to all bus operators, even when those CONCLUSIONS products and materials may have been developed for the trucking industry. There is no evidence that over-the-road bus operators A research program on the effects of passengers on bus are any more susceptible to fatigue than other commer- operator fatigue (including the effects of non-driving cial drivers or other transportation operators. tasks) should be instituted.