Chronic fatigue, acute sleep loss and circadian disruption associated with shift work schedule were cited as the cause of a semi-truck collision on I-44 last year that killed 10 people and injured five. The determination was released Tuesday as part of a National Transportation and Safety Board hearing held in Washington, D.C.
Donald Creed pled guilty to 10 counts of negligent homicide in August. He was 76 years old at the time of the accident and the board questioned several of his actions in regard to the crash.
Reports indicated that Creed had not been wearing his seatbelt as required by Oklahoma law and national safety regulations. Further, his cell phone records indicated that he had just concluded a 22-minute call on his phone just prior to the accident. It could not be determined if his was being activated at the time of the crash and reports from the scene indicated the phone was found loose in the truck’s cab.
aCampaigns = new Array();
aCampaigns = 100;
aAds = new Array();
nAdsysTime = new Date().getTime()/1000;
document.usePlayer = 1;
if ((nAdsysTime >= 1231372800) && (nAdsysTime
aAd = new Array('+instory01', '166088-1231431682', 'swf');
aAd = '300';
aAd = '250';
aAd = new Array();
aAd = 'http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sbtmiami.com';
aAd = '%2Binstory01';
aAd = 10;
aAd = 0;
aAd = 480;
aAd = 0;
aAd = 0;
aAds[aAds.length] = aAd;
adsys_displayAd('http://adsys.townnews.com', 'miaminewsrecord.com', aAds, aCampaigns);
http://adsys.townnews.com/c32208052/creative/miaminewsrecord.com/%2Binstory01/166088-1231431682.swf%3Fr%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.sbtmiami.com" name="movie" />
http://adsys.townnews.com/c32208052/creative/miaminewsrecord.com/%2Binstory01/166088-1231431682.swf%3Fr%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.sbtmiami.com" name="FlashVars" />http://adsys.townnews.com/c32208052/creative/miaminewsrecord.com/%2Binstory01/166088-1231431682.swf%3Fr%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.sbtmiami.com" quality="high" src="http://adsys.townnews.com/43112348/creative/miaminewsrecord.com/+instory01/166088-1231431682.swf?clickTAG=http://adsys.townnews.com/c32208052/creative/miaminewsrecord.com/%2Binstory01/166088-1231431682.swf%3Fr%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.sbtmiami.com">
The board heard testimony and received reports on the accident and concluded that training for the fatigue management and a shift work schedule that heightened the possibility of sleep deprivation were items that needed to be addressed by regulators of the trucking industry to prevent future accidents like the June 26, 2009 multiple vehicle incident that occurred on Interstate 44 near Miami.
NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman told the Miami News-Record after the hearing that micro-sleep scenarios could have contributed to the accident. She described those micro-sleep events as a “winking out” of the driver’s attention due to fatigue.
“A driver could be looking in his side mirrors and just remain focused there,” Hersman said, as an example of the effects of micro-sleep.
During the hearing, Hersman called for action in the form of better regulations and training for shift-work drivers.
"This crash points out the need for three important actions by federal regulators that would go a long way to reducing this type of accident on our roadways: a fatigue management system would have helped the driver get the rest he needed to perform well behind the wheel, event recorders would have provided our investigators with the details about the crash once it occurred, and a collision warning system would have significantly reduced the likelihood that this accident could have ever happened," said Hersman. "The time to act on all three of these safety fundamentals is now so that this kind of horrific tragedy will not occur again."
Among the recommendations from this accident investigation, the NTSB called upon the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to require all heavy commercial vehicles to be equipped with video event recorders, improve its fatigue educational materials and to require all motor carriers to adopt a fatigue management program based on the North American Fatigue Management Program. In addition, the NTSB urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to set performance standards for event data recorders and, after doing so, require that all trucks over 10,000 GVWR be equipped with event data recorders.
The NTSB reiterated previous recommendations to develop standards and require deployment of collision warning systems on new commercial vehicles, to require energy-absorbing under-ride protection for trucks, and to develop technologies to reduce fatigue- related accidents. In total, the NTSB issued nine new and six reiterated safety recommendations with this report.
The board also determined that the difference in the height of the bumpers from the truck to the smaller passenger cars contributed to the death toll as the truck was forced on top of the passenger car, then collapsing the interior of the vehicle.
A synopsis of the accident investigation report, including the findings, probable cause, and safety recommendations, can be found on the Board Meetings page of the NTSB's website, http://www.ntsb.gov/events/Boardmeeting.htm. The complete report will be available on the website in several weeks.