Report: Safety risks of tired air traffic controllers

Local News

AUSTIN (KXAN) — At most jobs suffering from lack of sleep just means consuming more caffeine, but for air traffic controllers it could be a huge safety risk.

A report conducted back in 2012 by NASA was just released with the numbers of errors air traffic controllers make due to lack of sleep.

The report shows that their long schedules and short turn-around times for air traffic controllers can lead to chronic fatigue and serious safety risks.

Researchers followed air traffic controllers monitoring their sleep habits, patterns and alertness at work. Two out of the ten they followed experienced significant errors in the previous year. Most of the controllers blamed fatigue on these errors.

The FAA does not accept the report, but did use some of the findings to implement changes. Air traffic controllers’ schedules were altered and a new rule requires at least nine hours between each shift.

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