Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis 7 Motorcoach Industry Hours of Service and Fatigue Management Techniques

  • Published: Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP)Transportation Research Board, 2005
  • Authors: Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP)Transportation Research Board
  • Date Added: 28 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 28 Feb 2013
  • Format: pdf


  • The primary objective of this research is to identify and document the fatigue effects of the extended workday that typifies motorcoach operations.

  • The researchers also sought to identify any techniques that motorcoach managers, front-line employees, and drivers use to reduce fatigue-related incidences resulting from the irregular on-duty conditions facing the operator.

  • A final objective is to identify any current or on-the-horizon technologies that may be appropriate for motorcoach operations to offset the effects of the extended workday and fatigue-inducing environment.


The scope of the study included a literature review complemented by a survey of selected motorcoach bus companies, industry associations, insurers of motorcoach companies, state driver licensing agencies, private driving schools, and other organizations.

Key Findings:

  • Managers surveyed for this and other studies reported very few bus RTIs associated with bus operator fatigue. The research personnel responding to the survey believe that bus operator fatigue may be a significant contributor to over-the-road safety incidents.

  • However, the paper suggests that there is little statistical evidence to support this belief. Bus company managers identified operator training as a major countermeasure to bus operator fatigue.

  • The researchers also identified rest and regular schedules as key features of any fatigue countermeasure program.

  • Managers reported significant pressure from passengers to have bus drivers work for longer periods. They also reported that as many as 75 per cent of bus drivers also handle passenger luggage.

  • There is no evidence that over-the-road bus drivers are any more susceptible to fatigue than other commercial drivers or other transportation drivers.

  • There has been very little objective research conducted on over-the-road bus drivers and this is particularly true when it comes to fatigue research.

  • Fatigue countermeasures that work for over-the-road HGV drivers should work for over-the-road bus drivers as well. Both bus and HGV drivers drive large vehicles on long, over-the-road routes.

  • There is no evidence that bus and HGV drivers are drawn from different workforce populations; they are also subject to the same work related pressures, schedules, and challenges.

  • The effects that passengers have on either combating or amplifying fatigue in bus drivers have not been well documented.


Coach drivers, Fatigue management.


The paper suggests that fatigue related crashes amongst motorcoach drivers are very rare, but also highlights the fact that a very limited amount of research has been carried out in this area.