The multi-year collaborative research to develop, test and evaluate components of a fatigue management program (FMP) for commercial vehicle operators has resulted in a thorough understanding of the issues, opportunities and challenges inherent in managing operator fatigue in a 24/7 commercial trucking environment. The NAFMP was developed through four distinct research, development and testing phases.
Phase 1 began through a series of focus groups with motor carriers to assist in the project design. Researchers identified fatigue management requirements and developed a comprehensive approach intended for drivers, dispatchers and company managers. Tools were identified for use in data collection and a beta test with six drivers was undertaken.
Phase 2 involved the development of educational and training materials. As well, procedures for field testing the FMP were developed and assessed. Field data collection was completed in Alberta, Quebec and Texas. Screening and treatment for sleep apnea was added to the initial program. The evaluation involved six fleets and 38 drivers in Alberta and Quebec. An additional eight drivers in Texas joined later.
Phase 3 involved an operational field test with 77 commercial drivers in Alberta, Quebec and California. Among the findings were positive trends in sleep duration and sleep efficiency post-FMP, reduced critical events:
- Improved reported sleep quality on duty days
- 20 min longer main sleep on duty days
- Duty day main period sleep duration and sleep efficiency improved compared to rest days
- Drivers reported less fatigue (trend)
- Reduction in proportion of drivers reporting critical events (29% from 46%) and 40% reduction in number of critical events per km driven
Based on the research, findings and operational data from the first three phases, Phase 4 involved development of the recommended guidelines, Implementation Manual, and training materials and the development of the NAFMP website.