National Transportation Safety Board- Most Wanted List: Safety & Fatigue

18 Wheeler STOCKFatigue-related accidents coming under much-needed scrutiny

A tired driver/operator can be just as dangerous as one that is working while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Think about that: getting inadequate rest makes a person as dangerous behind the wheel as a drunk person.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently announced its “Most Wanted List” of safety issues it will address in 2017-2018. The NTSB said that reducing fatigue-related accidents is one of their top priorities for the next two years and we at Oliver Law Firm heartily applaud this move.

Why is this issue important?

Let’s take a look at the most recent statistics related to fatigue-related incidents across all major modes of transportation. Over the years, the NTSB has cited fatigue as the probable cause in nearly 20 percent of the major investigations they performed between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2012.

The NTSB also reports that it has issued more than 200 safety recommendations addressing fatigue-related problems across all modes of transportation, including marine, aviation, railway and highway.

What can we do about it?

Here’s what the NTSB has to say about fatigue-related accident prevention:

“We must acknowledge that fatigue is a manageable threat to transportation safety that can be mitigated through reasonable measures based on company practices and individual responsibility. We must draw attention to the medical conditions that may affect sleep quality, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), insomnia, and restless legs syndrome,” according to a recent NTSB report. “We must also draw attention to company best practices that allow operators to schedule adequate off-duty time for rest and to report, treat, and to track health conditions that affect the quality of their sleep.”

We agree that fatigue-related accidents will be prevented more if operators get adequate rest. This includes ensuring that professional operators get medical treatment for sleep-related disorders.

It also means that industry leaders must remain vigilant about following hours of service regulations. A recent court decision that upholds an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is a major step in helping this problem in the trucking industry. We hope that other transportation industries follow in the trucking industry’s footsteps by taking major steps to reduce driver/operator fatigue.

Read more about the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate in this blog: