Fatigue plays a significant role in driver performance, job satisfaction, and safety on the road. Measuring fatigue with technology (i.e. biometric devices) like the Readiband from Fatigue Science and others from companies like Circadian Fatigue Management is one way to do this, as well as the proactive measures that can be taken by employers, such as allowing truck drivers sufficient rest and days off, as well as a reasonable schedule that helps balance personal and work life. With the coming of mandatory electronic logging devices (ELDs) in December of this year requiring many drivers to record their time spent behind the wheel, and FMCSA Medical Review Board (MRB), and Medical Expert Panel (MEP) recommendations with respect to proposed mandatory screening for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in at risk individuals, let’s not forget the importance of fatigue in the work force. Despite FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations (HOS), an important point made in this article is that even if a driver abides by the HOS rules, there is no guarantee that he or she had adequate sleep and rest. Fatigue is a problem that plagues all workers.
Similar concerns have been made about overworked medical professionals such as residents and attending doctors in hospitals, in terms of job performance, burn out rate, and patient safety. In some instances, the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation in doctors can be catastrophic, just as we have seen with deprivation in truck drivers.