While we applaud the NTSB for giving visibility to this issue, it’s an uphill battle. Research shows that driver fatigue is a significant factor in approximately 20% of commercial road transport crashes and over 50% of long haul drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel.* Still, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that truck drivers can drive up to 11 hours per day and 70 hours per week – and, as long as they’re not behind the wheel for the entire stretch, it’s OK to put in a 14-hour day. That’s a lot of hours. Moreover, as we have mentioned before but bears repeating, the oilfield exemption allows truck drivers who service oil rigs to work a 20-hour day. Our cases put a spotlight on the tragic results caused by truck driver fatigue. It is a serious concern. – Mike Davis
NTSB Chairman Highlights Importance of Restorative Rest During National Sleep Awareness Week
WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman recognizes National Sleep Awareness Week (March 3-10) and the seriousness of fatigue as a safety issue across all modes of transportation.
“In our investigations, we’ve seen truck drivers driving through the night during circadian lows, mariners navigating treacherous channels during pre-dawn hours and air traffic controllers working rotating shifts with short turnarounds,” said NTSB Chairman Hersman.
NTSB has studied operator fatigue and issued recommendations calling for improved scheduling regulations and practices, education for operators and employers concerning fatigue and sleep disorders, and research to better understand the risks associated with fatigue in transportation.
“There are too many transportation accidents where the lack of sleep and fatigue have either caused the accident or been a contributory factor,” Hersman added. “Sleep Awareness Week reminds us all of the vital importance of restorative rest.”