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Project Title:

Research Methodologies and Statistical Approaches to Understanding Driver Fatigue Factors in Motor Carrier Safety and Driver Health
PIN: DBASSE-CNSTAT-12-01        

Major Unit:

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Transportation Research Board

Sub Unit: Board on Human-System Integration
Committee on National Statistics

RSO: Cohen, Michael

Subject/Focus Area: Behavioral and Social Sciences; Transportation and Infrastructure

Project Scope
An ad hoc panel will conduct a study to assess the state of knowledge about the relationship of such factors as hours of driving, hours on duty, and periods of rest to the fatigue experienced by truck and bus drivers while driving and the implications for the safe operation of their vehicles.  The panel will also assess the relationship of these factors to drivers’ health over the longer term.  It will identify improvements in data and research methods that can lead to better understanding in both areas.  The study is requested by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the U.S. Department of Transportation, which is responsible for regulating hours of service (HOS), including time on duty and time and periods of driving, for motor carrier operators engaged in interstate commerce.  The panel’s review will cover a broad range of literature on factors that relate to fatigue, impaired performance, and adverse health outcomes for motor carrier operators and workers in other industries that involve similar cognitive and physiological demands, including but not limited to analyses and modeling studies carried out by FMCSA.  Based on its review and deliberations, the panel will issue a report with findings and recommendations that: (1) assesses the strength of the evidence (based on the quality of the research methods and the underlying data) regarding factors, such as hours of driving, hours of duty, and periods of rest, that may lead to fatigue and impaired cognitive and physiological performance of motor carrier drivers; (2) assesses the strength of the evidence regarding these factors and impaired health outcomes (including effects on mortality and morbidity) for motor carrier operators; (3) identifies priorities for research and modeling to improve knowledge of hours of service and other factors in motor carrier driver fatigue, safety, and health, and (4) identifies the most promising data collection methods (e.g., anonymous response surveys, naturalistic driving studies, electronic on-board recorders, other fatigue management technologies) and the most appropriate statistical methods for analyzing very large data sets (e.g., data mining, modeling, generation of synthetic data) to support state-of-the-art research in these important areas.

The panel will take account of the regulatory context that underlies FMCSA’s interest in research and data collection on factors, including hours of service and periods of rest, that can affect motor carriers’ cognitive and physiological performance on the job and their longer term health.  However, it will not recommend HOS rules nor conduct cost-benefit analysis of specific rules.

Project Duration: 24 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 02/20/2014
 Meeting 2 - 05/28/2014
 Meeting 3 - 09/03/2014
 Meeting 4 - 01/26/2015
 Meeting 5 - 05/05/2015
 Meeting 6 - 07/13/2015


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Fatigue, Long-Term Health, and Highway Safety: Research Needs