Transportation companies look to better manage fatigue

Driver fatigue has long been a problems for carriers and their employees. Drivers who are responsible for long haul or regional routes will often put in plenty of hours, even if they are taking the most direct route, and sometimes miss out on sleep in the process. This poses a threat both to those driving large rigs and others on the road.

New program combats serious industry problem
To combat this significant industry problem, organizations now have the option to implement the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP), a voluntary training program that is aimed to make drivers and fleet managers more aware of what causes fatigue and how it can affect overall performance. The initiative will be available to fleets in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

NAFMP will include learning modules that will supply information and test participants to ensure maximum information retention. These modules are aimed toward a range of individuals within the transportation industry, including fleet owners, management teams, drivers and even families who have a loved one regularly completing long-haul routes. The program will also include a business case and ROI calculator so executives can determine the costs and advantages of trying out the program, a manual that helps teams smoothly implementing NAFMP and a website continually updated with new information.

Possible solution to a significant problem
Many in the industry are pleased with NAFMP and hope it will prove beneficial to transportation companies in the future, providing a long-term fix to a problem that has plagued many companies and their drivers.

"This program is a great example of industry organizations and regulators stepping forward to identify, provide and promote real solutions to improving the safety of our nation's highways," said Bill Graves, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations (ATA). "ATA has long believed that looking holistically at alertness and fatigue management, rather than relying on a prescriptive Band-Aid approach provided by the current hours-of-service regulatory system, is the best way to address the complex issues of human alertness and fatigue."

While NAFMP will ensure drivers and their managers are more aware of fatigue, how it's caused and how it can be prevented, there are other steps companies can take to ensure employees aren't too tired while on the road. Route planning software can help guarantee drivers use the most direct roads to make pickups and deliveries, cutting the amount of time they're behind the wheel. By using routing software in addition to NAFMP and providing consistent driver education, transportation companies can take all the steps necessary to combat this problem.