Research Project

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Driver Recovery and Napping

Goal

To evaluate recovery periods and napping strategies for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers to recover from cumulative fatigue caused by various work shifts.

Background

The impact of fatigue-related performance lapses on the trucking industry continues to be a long-standing issue in North America. Mental fatigue and time-of-day-induced variations in cognitive effectiveness can lead to lapses in attention, slowed reactions, and impaired reasoning and decision-making that have been shown to contribute to accidents, incidents, and errors in a host of transportation and other settings.

Summary

This is a joint Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)/Transport Canada study. This project is being conducted to develop a better understanding of the independent and combined effects of main sleep periods and supplemental naps on recovery from fatigue in CMV drivers. The project incorporates the most recent sleep and circadian knowledge to examine whether two physiological nights recovery between duty cycles will significantly improve objective performance (Psychomotor Vigilance Task [PVT]), subjective alertness and mood ratings compared to one physiological night recovery; and whether optimally-scheduled daily nap opportunities during duty cycles (as determined by the Safety, Activity, Fatigue, and Task Effectiveness [SAFTE] model) will significantly improve objective performance (PVT and Truck Simulator measures), subjective alertness, and mood ratings compared to duty cycles without naps. A total of 142 healthy adult men and women will be studied in the experimental protocol.

The research will investigate the effectiveness of recovery sleep periods (defined by the number of physiological nighttime sleep opportunities available) and systematic napping interventions on individual driver measures of performance and safety. The study design combines actual driving duties during routine trucking operations with controlled research activities, including repeated acquisition of objective performance measures and subjective alertness and mood. Data collection will take place over two consecutive duty cycles (i.e., Duty Cycle 1 and Duty Cycle 2) including the intervening restart (Recovery) period. The study includes both daytime and nighttime driving allowing for the evaluation of circadian influences on recovery sleep periods and napping schedules. Recruitment of drivers will occur in both Canada and the United States.

Outcomes

The final product of this project will be recommendations for "best practices" for managing CMV driver fatigue utilizing sufficient recovery sleep combined with flexible and effective sleep strategies to ensure safe and efficient driver performance at all times of day.

Milestones

August 2013: Complete data collection.
March 2014: Final report with recommendations.

Funding

FY 2008: $450,000 - FMCSA Research and Technology

Status

The study team is recruiting drivers and completing data collection.

Contractor

Institutes for Behavior Resources, Inc.

Updated: Friday, January 24, 2014