“The hour we lose when clocks are set forward every spring offers our already sleep-deprived country a glimpse into the dangers of operating vehicles while fatigued,” he wrote. “Perhaps the most basic requirement for safely operating any vehicle is to be awake, and though necessary, just being awake is not sufficient. Safe travel requires every vehicle operator to have obtained optimal sleep and be wide-awake and maximally alert, every time.”
Rosekind said the NTSB was not just concerned about driver fatigue during daylight saving time.
“The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has long been interested in fatigue and has identified it as a probable cause or contributing factor in accidents across all modes of transportation that have resulted in many lost lives and injuries,” he wrote.
“The NTSB has issued over 200 safety recommendations focused on fatigue across all transportation modes," Rosekind continued. "These safety recommendations have addressed diverse areas such as hours of service regulations, scheduling policies, education and training, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, research, and vehicle technologies.”
Rosekind said it would take a “societal wake up call" for driver fatigue to be properly addressed.
“Airplanes, buses, trains, trucks, and ships are complex machines that require the full attention of the operator, maintenance personnel, and other individuals performing safety-critical functions, and our lives depend on it,” Rosekind wrote. “The sad fact is that for all the information we have on the perils of fatigue, American society still characterizes pushing the sleep envelope as ‘hardworking,’ ‘results-oriented,’ and ‘dedicated’ but when it comes to operating any kind of vehicle – fatigue can be deadly.”