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Bus driver fatigue management to become a London priority

9 September 2019

Following the commissioning of research into bus driver fatigue Transport for London has mandated that from 2020, any company operating London buses will be required to introduce rigorous fatigue risk management systems as part of their contract.

The study published by Loughborough University highlights that drivers’ health and wellbeing is key and that adequate welfare facilities reduce stress, which in turn reduces the risk of fatigue.

Conducted by Loughborough University and the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, the study is the first to assess participants while they are driving in-service buses and combine this data with detailed sleep diaries. It included a voluntary survey of drivers, which found that one in five reported having fatigue-related issues more than once a week while behind the wheel.

Although the report authors do not suggest a single solution, they did conclude that better partnership working between TfL, bus operators and bus drivers will deliver an even safer bus network.As a result of the findings, TfL announced a number of key measures, including a £500,000 fund to help operators undertake further work to establish the most effective interventions to reduce fatigue.  From 2020, any company operating London buses will be required to introduce rigorous fatigue risk management systems as part of their contract.

As highlighted in The Road Safety Observatory research has found that a person who drives after being awake for 17 hours has impaired driving skills comparable to a driver with a 0.05 mg/ml blood alcohol level. A driver who has gone without sleep for 24 hours has impaired driving skills comparable to a driver with an illegally high blood alcohol concentration of 0.1 mg/ml.

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