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Sleep Study Wraps Up

TORONTO, Ont. - The Canadian trucking industry has been at the forefront of studying sleep apnea and fatigue management through the recently-concluded North America Fatigue Management Program. The pro...


TORONTO, Ont. –The Canadian trucking industry has been at the forefront of studying sleep apnea and fatigue management through the recently-concluded North America Fatigue Management Program. The project has been underway for eight years with participants ranging from Alberta Transportation to Transport Canada, the FMCSA and several carriers. The result of the program will be a comprehensive fatigue management program carriers can implement into their operations, Roger Clarke, executive director of vehicle safety and carriers services with Alberta Transportation, said at the OTA convention.

“We hope the results will be published within a month,” Clarke said Nov. 19, adding carriers will be able to review the report and then access tools online that will enable them to calculate a return on investment and determine how best to implement the program.

Dr. Alison Smiley, president, Human Factors North and prime contractor of the North America Fatigue Management Program, divulged some of the findings from a three-carrier study. Groupe Robert, ECL Group and JB Hunt participated in the study which provided sleep apnea screening and treatment to drivers. Seventy-one per cent of participating drivers were diagnosed with sleep apnea, but Smiley pointed out the number was skewed because only drivers who were likely to be suffering from apnea in the first place actually took part in the program. In the real world, Smiley said it’s expected about 28% of drivers will be affected.

Results of the study were encouraging. Following treatment, drivers who took part averaged 20 more minutes of sleep during on-duty days. The gap between the quality and duration of sleep enjoyed on rest days versus duty days narrowed, providing a better balance of sleep between work and rest days. The study also found drivers voiced fewer complaints about being fatigued and there was a significant drop in the number of drivers reporting critical events (such as hard braking or nodding off), Smiley pointed out.


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