Federal agencies Transportation

NTSB hosts forum on drowsy driving

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Washington – Drowsy driving poses significant threats to worker safety and health and must be combated, a panel of experts told the National Transportation Safety Board on Oct. 21.

NTSB hosted a daylong forum titled, “Awake, Alert, Alive: Overcoming the Dangers of Drowsy Driving,” which included a session regarding workplace policies and practices.

The oil and gas industry is particularly vulnerable to drowsy driving because workers often have to make lengthy trips to and from worksites, said Stephanie Pratt, coordinator of the NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety. She said NIOSH plans to survey oil and gas workers about their commuting behaviors and on-the-job driving requirements.

Pratt’s other points included:

  • Risks of drowsy driving affect workers other than commercial motor vehicle drivers.
  • Shift work, long work hours, long hours of driving during the workday and commuting may exacerbate those risks.
  • Little is known regarding the effects of long hours of work-related driving combined with lengthy commutes.

The workplace session also included presentations by David Flower, senior health director of BP International; and John Violanti, research professor at the University at Buffalo.