Research Project

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


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


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 assess the large amounts of data already generated by onboard electronic monitoring systems and naturalistic driving studies. NAS will inform the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (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.


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.
  • Review data collection methods including survey techniques, naturalistic driving studies, and electronic logging devices.  
  • Examine issues relating to the analysis of vast stores of data.
  • 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.
  • Assess statistical methods to analyze data sets generated by driver monitoring technologies. 


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


October 2013            Kick-off meeting
January 2015            Executive Committee meeting
September 2015       Deiver report to FMCSA and publish on the NAS Web site




Two panel meetings have taken place. The third panel meeting with CNSTAT will be scheduled for March 2015. Contractor is drafting the background chapters for the final report. The project is on track for completion.


National Academy of Sciences/Committee on National Statistics

Updated: Thursday, January 8, 2015
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