The North American Fatigue Management Program is now in place within the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance in an effort to reduce driver fatigue and the dangerous incidents that can come along with it.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration initially urged CVSA to create and manage the program, which would operate as a training initiative to educate and prevent overall risks in relation to driver fatigue. FMCSA and Transport Canada are now collaborating with CVSA to bring the program to full force.
Throughout a four-phase, years-long process, medical scientists and sleep analysts within the United States and Canada have worked to implement the North American Fatigue Management Program, which has a variety of methods in place to help finally bring an end to driver fatigue and fatigue-involved crash incidents.
These methods include techniques to identify and treat various sleep disorders, ways to utilize driver fatigue management technology innovations, and support in easily-accessible fatigue prevention training taking place online. Additionally, it includes fatigue prevention education for everyone involved in the transportation process–everyone from driver managers, driver families and spouses, safety managers, and the commercial motor vehicle drivers themselves, to motor carrier executives, motor carrier managers, driver managers, and freight shippers and receivers.
“For the past several years, Canadian and American regulators, carriers, and researchers have worked on the development of a comprehensive approach for managing fatigue,” said NAFMP on its website. “This work has been led by a consortium of government and industry agencies with an interest in developing a more effective means of dealing with professional driver fatigue. The NAFMP Steering Committee agreed to develop a comprehensive FMP that would enhance a carrier’s ability to effectively deal with the challenge of fatigue in a highly competitive, widely dispersed, and rapidly changing industry.”
Additionally, CVSA will work to boost the program and its outreach by offering program information sessions at CVSA conferences and events, hosting steering committee and program meetings to relay program initiatives and improvements, hosting live and pre-recorded question and answer sessions, moderating forums allowing users to ask questions and offer feedback, hosting fatigue management-related webinars and discussions, and offering English, Spanish, and French content to make this information as accessible as possible.
“The multi-year collaborative research to develop, test, and evaluate components of a fatigue management program 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 motor carrier environment,” explained NAFMP. “The NAFMP was developed through four distinct research, development, and testing phases.”
During phase one, focus groups and motor carriers worked to help in the design of the initiative, with researchers identifying specific fatigue management requirements and creating an effective method of reaching drivers, managers, and dispatchers, with six drivers undergoing initial beta testing.
During phase two, field testing allowed for training and educational materials to be easily assessed and developed, with treatment and screening for sleep apnea being implemented in the program. Six fleets and 38 drivers in Canada began evaluation, followed by eight additional Texas drivers.
Next, 77 commercial vehicle drivers in California, Quebec, and Alberta participated in operational field testing during phase three with findings including positive correlations between reduced critical events and sleep duration and sleep efficiency.
These trends included less fatigue reported in drivers, with improved reported sleep quality on duty days, longer sleep on duty days, a reduction in the proportion of drivers reporting critical events, a significant reduction in critical events per kilometers driven, and duty day improvement regarding sleep duration and sleep efficiency on those days as compared to duration and efficiency in sleep during rest days.
The reduction in drivers reporting critical events had dropped from 46% to 29% during this period, with a 40% overall reduction in critical incidents per kilometer driven.
Finally, phase four involved the creation of the Implementation Manual, training materials, NAFMP website development, and recommended guideline implementation based on all findings from the previous three phases.