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Washington State Study Supports New Trucking Regulations

Katie Chapman3 years ago

The Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research Center has found new evidence that new trucking regulations are more effective in prevening truck driver fatigue.

More Sleep for Trucks Drivers

“Our field has shown that nighttime drivers tended to have a nocturnal sleep schedule during their restart breaks and that adding a second nighttime period therefore allows them additional time for sleep recuperation.” – Hans Van Dongen, research professor and principal investigator of the study as published by Medical News Today

According to Medical News Today, Washington State University’s Sleep and Performance Research Center, which researches the effects of fatigue in around-the-clock operational environments, has completed a study that has shown a revised provision of hours-of-service regulation fights fatigue better by giving drivers two nighttime periods versus one. The new regulation took effect last July.

Researchers examined more than 100 truck drivers, and suggested that the old provision did not provide enough sleep to drivers with only one nighttime period. Comparing the old provision to the new, researchers discovered drivers experienced less lapses of attention, less sleepiness while on duty, and maintained their lane position with two nighttime periods versus those with one nighttime period in their restart.

Researchers studied speed and lane deviation in drivers while drivers wore wrist activity monitors that measured sleep and wakefulness.

President Obama Signs Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act into Law

The WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center concluded their study between January and July 2013, after President Obama signed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act into law in July 2012. The new law called for a field study to examine truck drivers’ hours-of-service regulations.

By increasing the number of hours truckers have to sleep and better organizing truck drivers’ shifts, legislators hope to reduce driver fatigue.  Fatigue is among the leading causes of fatal trucking accidents.

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