Fleet Management

Fatigue Management Program Near Completion

April 18, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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A coalition of U.S. and Canadian trucking interests are close to releasing a best-practices manual for fatigue management.

The North American Fatigue Management Program should be posted on the web early next month, according to several sources.

The program will offer guidelines and training materials for commercial carriers to use in implementing a fatigue management program, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in an email.

It will include information on recognizing fatigue, on screening and treatment for sleep disorders, and on driver health and wellness, the agency said.

On the website, the program will be broken down into 10 modules in both PowerPoint and interactive audio, said Roger Clarke, a Canadian safety expert who has been working on the fatigue program for years.

“We have also completed an implementation manual for carriers and a Return on Investment calculator that will provide carriers with guidance on how to implement this program and some assistance in determining the cost/benefit of doing so,” Clarke said in an email. 

Clarke, a management consultant who formerly was executive director of Vehicle Safety and Carrier Services for Alberta, said he expects the website to launch by mid-June.

Participating in the years-long effort to develop the program are FMCSA, Transport Canada, various Canadian transportation safety groups including the Canadian Trucking Alliance, and the American Transportation Research Institute.

In earlier remarks, Clarke said that pilot tests of the program, which included volunteer drivers from Challenger Motor Freight, Con-Way Express and J.B. Hunt, showed that the program can improve drivers’ awareness of good sleep practices, reduce fatigue and reduce the incidence of near-accidents, he said.

Truck safety experts say fatigue management can help improve safety, and a number of U.S. fleets have incorporated fatigue management principles into their daily operations.

FMCSA views fatigue management as a potentially valuable supplement to hours-of-service rules, but some trucking companies believe it should be one of a portfolio of safety tools that eventually could provide an alternative way to comply with safety requirements.

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