Driver's fatigue

Project No. FFFP 0227


completed 12/2005


Aim of this pilot project which lasted for two years (2004 - 2005) was to develop and evaluate an alertness management system for truck fleets. Project partners were HVBG (Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften), statutory accident insurances, German Road Safety Council (DVR), Transport Operations of the Ford Motor Company in Cologne and DLR (German Aerospace Center). As a holistic approach, the alertness management system consisted of two modules, an alertness management training of truck drivers and training and counselling of fleet management personnel. A computer program named Alert for the prediction of alertness was adapted to the truck fleet to optimize schedules in terms of fatigue.


In the first phase of the project the alertness management training SAFE-T for truck drivers was conducted, consisting of an introduction session, two training blocks and a final review session. Content of the training were fatigue-related topics such as individual signs of fatigue, causes of fatigue, adequate and inadequate reactions to fatigue, frequently occurring sleep disorders, tips for better sleep, combining shift work with family life and general health tips. The computer program Alert was also used during the training to demonstrate the effects of sleep deficits, long duty hours and night work on fatigue and the effect of countermeasures, e.g. breaks, naps, and appropriate sleeping times.

Training and counselling of fleet management personnel in alertness management was part of the second project phase. With the support of the computer program Alert schedules were analysed in terms of risk to suffer from micro sleep. Strategies to improve the schedules were demonstrated.


Altogether 58 male truck drivers voluntarily participated in the study. In a pre-post design with a training (n=29) and a control group (n=29), training effects were analyzed using questionnaires and a sleep and fatigue diary. The results show that the training improved the drivers' alertness management skills as well as their knowledge about sleep, fatigue and shift work. After the training the drivers rated their competence in avoiding fatigue higher and all trained drivers were willing to apply what they had learned during training. Furthermore, a decrease of fatigue during night shift was observed and the drivers tended to sleep longer during night shifts. These effects were of statistical significance. Refreshment training is essential to sustain these training effects.

The project was finished in its planned time frame and the budget limit.

Results obtained in this study in cooperation with the truck fleet of Ford Transport Operations can be the basis for implementing alertness management nationwide in other truck fleets served by the statutory accident insurances. Project partners received the alertness-management training SAFE-T with the corresponding trainer manual for implementing the validated alertness management in truck fleets, as well as the adapted computer program Alert for the prediction of alertness.

After this successful project, there is now the possibility to adapt the training to other target groups such as bus drivers, train drivers, cab drivers, fleets and ships within the scope of subsequent projects.


Thoren, C. ten: Wach am Steuer. Ecomed, Landsberg/Lech 2006
Thoren, C. ten: Wach am Steuer - Referenten-Paket. Ecomed, Landsberg/Lech 2006

Last Update:

22 Nov 2006


Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
  • Deutscher Verkehrssicherheitsrat (DVR)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin, Köln

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Gestaltung von Arbeit und Technik, Mechanische Gefährdungen


Unfallgefahr, Transport und Verkehr, Gesundheits- und Sicherheitsmanagement

Description, key words:

Driver's fatigue, traffic safety