Sleeping Air Traffic Controllers Update

6 years 8 months 18 hours ago Sunday, April 17 2011 Apr 17, 2011 Sunday, April 17, 2011 9:02:00 PM CDT April 17, 2011 in News
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The government says it's giving air traffic controllers an extra hour off between shifts so they don't doze off at work, a problem that stretches back decades. But officials have rejected the remedy that sleep experts say would make a real difference: on-the-job napping.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tells Fox News that "controllers will not be paid to take naps." That's exactly the opposite of what scientists and the Federal Aviation Administration's own fatigue working group say is needed after five cases disclosed since late March of sleeping
controllers.

Several other countries, including Germany and Japan, permit controllers to take sleeping breaks and they provide quiet rooms with cots for that purpose. Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation, says given the body of scientific evidence, LaHood's decision "clearly
demonstrates that politics remain more important than public safety."

Voss explains that "People are concerned about a political backlash if they allow controllers to have rest periods in their work shifts the same way firefighters and trauma physicians do."

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