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17 transmissions from ground vehicles should be confined to operator placed the speakers in the cab in this manner: left safety-related matters. side was the speaker for the radio tuned to approach control; a center speaker immediately behind the operator was tuned Advisory Circular 150/5200-30, Winter Operations on to ground control; a third speaker to the right side monitored Airports, provides the recommendation that the overlying air airport operations. The placement of the speakers allows for traffic control frequency should be monitored along with the directionality of the radio communication and reduces some local frequency by the airport's snow control center or snow confusion of which radio communication is being received. vehicles at all non-towered airports and at airports where the ATCT has less than 24-hour operations (12). This procedure To combat driver fatigue, a few operators indicated they should apply even if a NOTAM has been issued closing use AM/FM music radios to help keep them awake. As dis- the runway for snow-clearing operations. cussed previously, driver fatigue is a major issue that is better managed through means that address the root cause and do Most airports attempt to follow these procedures with some not contribute to driver distraction. variation. This is primarily due to the different operating char- acteristics of airports, along with factors such as the experience The advisory circular on winter operations and safety sug- of the crews, the pressure of keeping the airport open, and the gests that consideration should be given to providing vehicle capabilities of the equipment. operators with headphones to minimize ambient noise disrup- tion from vehicular noise. The use of headphones, especially active noise cancellation (ANC) or active noise reduction OPERATOR DISTRACTION (ANR) type, is thought to help reduce the fatiguing affect of vehicle and environmental noise and enhance radio commu- Operator distraction is a concern for runway safety because nication. Survey respondents indicated the use of headphones any distraction can cause an operator to miss an ATCT com- or earphones is not a common practice, in part due to their munication, not see or recognize visual clues such as pavement being uncomfortable after long periods of time, and primar- markings or signs, or otherwise interfere with an operator's ily because the vehicle operators want to be able to "hear" the cognitive thinking processes. For instance, research exists vehicle engine and related equipment. Experienced vehicle that demonstrates that the use of a cell phone while driving does operators are attuned to the sounds of their equipment and the impair one's cognitive and visual processes (30). Conducting environment as part of their overall SA. Headphones, several a cell phone conversation can block out other thought processes respondents stated, detract from that awareness. However, or prevent a visual image from being recognized. hearing loss can be mitigated through the use of headphones and communication can be enhanced through the elimination Cell phones are issued at some airports to a vehicle oper- of ambient noise. The disparity between whether headphones ator for use only in emergency situations (i.e., radio failure) enhance or detract from vehicle operations is a topic for or for communicating with operations or maintenance. research and evaluation. At an uncontrolled airport, the lead plow operator may have a cell phone to receive FSS and ATC Center calls and for During the course of this study, one air traffic controller filing NOTAMs. However, good practice is to vacate the noted that an error he has to be attuned to is that of respond- movement or safety area when calling FSS or others. It is ing to a person's voice rather than to a vehicle call sign. For not recommended to have the phone to receive or make nor- instance, due to a long-time familiarity with airport opera- mal business or personal calls while engaged in plowing tions and personnel, the controller may know that Operator A operations. is usually assigned Plow 11. But Operator A switches vehi- cles with Operator B in Plow 12 as a way to mitigate fatigue. An overwhelming majority of respondents to the question- Both Plow 11 and Plow 12 are on the airfield, and the con- naire indicated that the use of cell phones, CDs, AM/FM troller, familiar with Operator A's voice, directs Plow 11 to radios, iPods, or similar devices is not allowed while operat- exit a runway believing Operator A is inside, except that it is ing on the airfield. The primary reason cited for disallowing actually Plow 12 that requires direction. the use of such devices was that in having to listen to the several radio frequencies (ATCT, operations or maintenance, As stated by one survey respondent emergency, public works, etc.), another audio device in the vehicle cabin is a major distraction. For the few airports that Vehicle operators have misunderstood ATC clearances and have taken a clearance intended for another vehicle. Operators have indicated they allow cell phones in the vehicles, specific poli- "heard what they want to hear" and not what was actually said-- cies were generally developed to identify the circumstances complacency. and conditions under which they could be used. Vigilance and adherence to standard call signs on the part However, operational notes were made by survey respon- of both vehicle operators and controllers is important to dents that can be of benefit to others. Regarding the practice of prevent this type of error. The FAA has revised Advisory Cir- having to listen to several different frequencies, one airport cular 150/5210-5, Painting, Marking, and Lighting of Vehicles