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Agency urges fatigue reduction plans by closing rest stopsaaron-blue-jacket-hi-res

In response to a tractor-trailer rollover that triggered a collision with a motorcoach, the National Transportation Safety Board repeated safety recommendations to deal with fatigued commercial drivers and to reduce the occurrence of fatigue in the first place.

NTSB on Feb. 2 wrote letters to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The letters repeated NTSB’s Sept. 16, 2008, recommendations that:

  • FMCSA implement a plan to deploy technologies in commercial vehicles to reduce fatigue-related accidents;
  • FMCSA use a methodology that will continually assess the effectiveness of the fatigue management plans implemented by motor carriers, including their ability to improve sleep and alertness, mitigate performance errors, and prevent incidents and accidents;
  • NHTSA determine whether equipping commercial vehicles with collision warning systems with active braking and electronic stability control systems will reduce commercial vehicle accidents and to require their use on commercial vehicles if they are found effective.


NTSB also reiterated its recommendation that NHTSA determine rules on adaptive cruise control and collision warning system performance standards for new commercial vehicles. Those standards should address obstacle detection distance, timing of alerts, and human factor guidelines, such as the mode and type of warning, NTSB said.

A FMCSA spokesman said he had no comment about the NTSB letter.

A NHTSA spokesman said his agency has conducted a field test and collaborated on a study with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Those tests found safety benefits from using technology but presented different conclusions about the source of the benefits. Because of the different findings, the agency said it did not have “sufficient certainty about safety benefits … to justify rulemaking and is conducting additional work.”

– Staff reports