Research Project

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Research Methodologies and Statistical Approaches to Understanding Driver Fatigue Factors in Motor Carrier Safety and Driver Health

Goal    

To better understand driver fatigue issues, provide expert direction and support for future agency research and methodologies, and impact future regulatory decisions.

Background  

The Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), a component of the National Academies of Science (NAS)/National Research Council (NRC), will conduct a panel study to identify optimal research and statistical methodologies to better understand driver fatigue. This study will utilize the large amounts of data already generated by on-board electronic monitoring systems and naturalistic driving studies. CNSTAT will staff the panel with approximately 10 experts from across disciplines that deal with driver fatigue. The project can provide expert direction and support for future agency research and methodologies aimed to address the driver fatigue issue with applications for future regulatory decisions. NAS will inform FMCSA of the panel's findings, conclusions, and recommendations once the final report has been completed. NAS will not make recommendations about hours-of-service (HOS) rules nor conduct cost-benefit analyses.

Summary    

The proposed CNSTAT study panel will complete the following tasks:

  • Evaluate and identify the most promising data collection methods for improved understanding of factors related to motor carrier driver fatigue, safety, and health, on the basis of criteria such as sample size and resulting statistical power, and accuracy and relevance of variables measured.
  • Review data collection methods including survey techniques, naturalistic driving studies, and electronic logging devices (ELDs).  
  • Examine issues relating to the analysis of vast stores of data; for example, the extensive video footage collected during naturalistic driving studies requires the application of state-of-the-art data mining techniques for fruitful analysis.
  • Identify priorities for future research that can improve the validity and generalizability of relevant knowledge. 
  • Assess the potential usefulness of fatigue management and monitoring technologies to provide data for research aimed to improve understanding of the relationship of HOS factors to driver fatigue and safety. 
  • Assess the usefulness of statistical models of alternative HOS provisions, driver fatigue, and safety. The quality of the data and the assumptions that are entered into the models are important parts of such an assessment.
  • Assess statistical methods to analyze data sets generated by driver monitoring technologies. 

Outcomes    

A final report, in prepublication format, will be produced at the end of 18 months, and the final printed version will be released at the end of 21 months. Both versions will be made available to the public.

Funding

FY 2014 -  $985,000    

Status    

The project was awarded in June 2013.

Project Lead    

For more information, contact Albert Alvarez of FMCSA's Research Division at (202) 385-2387 or at albert.alvarez@dot.gov.

Contractor    

National Academy of Sciences/Committee on National Statistics

Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014