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7 CHAPTER 2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM: FATIGUE AND TRANSPORTATION EQUIPMENT OPERATORS In the United States, in recent years several studies (NCSDR/ Long commutes to or from work on a daily basis, NHTSA, 1998; Johnson, 1998; Reissman, 1996) produced var- Long waits after reporting for work before duty begins, ious estimates of the level of sleep-related road accidents. The Forced interruptions in work that extend the duty day, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Long commutes from home to report for work prior to estimates that there are 56,000 sleep-related road crashes beginning a multi-day work period. annually in the United States, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities (NCSDR/NHTSA, 1998). However, specific motorcoach data are not identified in these studies. WORK SCHEDULES Studies in Great Britain (Horne and Reyner, 2000), Australia (Fell, 1994), Germany (Hell, 1997), New Zealand (Land Split-Shifts Transport Safety Authority, 1998), Norway (Sagberg, 1999), and Israel (Zomer, 1990) all identified vehicle operator fatigue Split-shift work can increase the likelihood of operator as a significant contributor to road crashes. Even in such fatigue, by resulting in schedules that are not conducive to overviews of the international driver safety research commu- obtaining adequate sleep. Among the primary factors that nity, no specific data about motorcoach operators were found. commonly occur in conjunction with split-shift schedules The Department of Transportation/Research and Special contributing to operator fatigue are Programs Administration (McCallum et al., 2003) sponsored a report that associated many factors with transportation Early morning start of shift; operator fatigue. The RSPA report describes several general Late evening end of shift; operational fatigue risk factors identified during structured High-paced operations during the work period; interviews with representatives from the airline, railroad, mar- Limited time at home during the awake period; itime, and trucking industries. When these risk factors are pres- Difficulty in taking advantage of mid-day sleep oppor- ent, there is an increased likelihood that operators are working tunities; and with compromised alertness and possibly even in a state of Sleep/work periods conflicting with circadian rhythm. fatigue. The McCallum et al. (2003) report is the primary source document for the following discussion of many factors When work schedules require people to obtain their sleep that contribute to transportation operator fatigue; many of these during times that are normally awake periods, the quality and pertain to commercial bus and motorcoach operators as well. quantity of sleep suffers. Work during "low" periods of the circadian rhythm (roughly 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.) can be associated with drowsiness and a low level of EXTENDED WORK AND COMMUTING PERIODS alertness. Most commercial transportation operator work hours are Inappropriate times to obtain sleep include regulated by Federal HOS rules. Therefore, long work hours seldom--independently--result in operator fatigue. Rather, Late morning (for those adjusted to a nighttime sleep it is the combination of long work periods and other non-duty schedule); factors that contribute to on-the-job fatigue, by limiting the Afternoon (for those adjusted to a nighttime sleep available time for recreation, rest, and sleep. Over extended schedule); working periods, repeated inadequate sleep periods can result Early evening (for those adjusted to a nighttime sleep in accumulated sleep debt and associated operator fatigue. schedule); and Among the primary aspects of extended work and/or com- Any shift in sleep time due to time zone travel that requires muting periods that have been cited as contributing to opera- sleep during the day at the origin of travel (i.e., the jet tor fatigue are lag phenomenon).