Research Project

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Restorative Rest for Motorcoach Drivers

Goal:

To determine how much restorative rest is needed for motorcoach drivers. The study will analyze the relationships between time off duty and sleep. This will be a re-analysis of the motorcoach driver sleep and performance data that were collected for the study entitled “Motorcoach Driver Fatigue Study, 2011” (Belenky et al., 2012).

Background:

The original motorcoach driver fatigue study analyzed data from 84 commercial motorcoach drivers and collected continuous sleep, work, performance, and fatigue data for each driver for approximately 1 month. Drivers were recruited from across the United States and from a range of motorcoach operations (i.e., regular route, tour, charter, and commuter express). The purpose of the motorcoach driver fatigue study was to assess the degree to which active motorcoach drivers push the limits of motorcoach hours-of-service (HOS) regulations and, as a result, expose themselves to less-than-24-hour duty/rest cycles—cycles that would entail getting up earlier and earlier each day, likely restricting their sleep and impairing their performance. The study found no evidence that the participating motorcoach drivers exposed themselves to non-24-hour duty/rest cycles. Duty start times were clustered in the morning, indicating that duty days were synchronized to the circadian rhythm.

Summary:

The aim of the present study is to characterize the relationship between off-duty time and sleep using the data collected in the original study. The study will answer the following research questions:  How much sleep do motorcoach drivers obtain given the amount of time they have off between shifts?  How much time off between shifts do motorcoach drivers need to ensure that they are able to get 7–8 hours of sleep in each 24-hour period?  The proposed re-analysis will expand upon the original motorcoach driver fatigue study by examining sleep in any given 24-hour period as a function of off-duty time during the same 24-hour period. Of particular interest is the off-duty time in a 24-hour period that is associated with 7–8 hours of sleep during that same period, as 7–8 hours of sleep in every 24 hours is thought to sustain operational performance.

Outcomes:

A report that describes how much restorative rest is needed for motorcoach drivers.

Milestones:

September 2014: Contract awarded
November 2014: Kick-off meeting
March 2016: Final report due

Funding:

FY 2015: $75,000

Current Status:

Complete—Report pending publication.

Project Manager:

For more information, contact Terri Hallquist of the Research Division at (202) 366-1064 or theresa.hallquist@dot.gov.

Contractor:

Washington State University
Updated: Thursday, January 5, 2017
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