Date of this Version
Nebraska Transportation Center, Report # SPR-1(12) M319
The goal of this research was to identify and correlate easily observable characteristics of drivers to different levels of fatigue, thus enabling state patrol officers to make more judicious decisions related to driver fatigue. A literature review was conducted pertaining to the characteristics of fatigued drivers. Next, a nationwide survey was administered to state patrol agencies to assess their practices regarding fatigue-involved driving. To explore relationships between state patrol agency practices and vehicular safety, data collected from the telephone survey were merged with data from different states on fatigue-involved vehicle fatalities and vehicle miles traveled. Analysis revealed that states with greater numbers of vehicle miles traveled reported higher numbers of fatigue-related fatalities, while relatively fewer fatigue-involved fatalities were reported in states where patrol agencies provided formal fatigue identification training to officers, where public service announcements and educational programs to counter fatigued driving were implemented, and where patrol officers used driving cues to stop commercial motor vehicles for fatigue-related issues. A plan was prepared for future research that will develop a tool kit for the field measurement of fatigue. The tool kit will be based on input from driver facial clues, physiological aspects, and steering cues, and will include field measurement techniques and criteria for identifying fatigue. When fully developed, the tool kit will give patrol officers the flexibility of using one or more means of fatigue identification in the field. The research plan also includes an exploration of practices of those agencies that make fatigue-related training available to patrol officers, as well as an exploration of the role of public service announcements in relation to fatigued driving.