Longer breaks between shifts for air traffic controllers are among the new anti-fatigue rules announced by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration following a series of incidents in which air traffic controllers fell asleep on the job.I have a hard time commenting on this civilly. What Mr. LaHood isn't saying is that controllers are currently allowed to read, play video games, talk and text on their cell phones, and smoke cigarettes during their paid breaks--but not sleep. As if "being paid to sleep" is somehow worse than being paid to do any of the above--when research has shown over and over again that being allowed to sleep during a break makes for a much safer rest of the shift. Mr. LaHood, you're not at all interested in making sure that your controllers are well rested--you're only interested in covering your own assets.
Air traffic controllers will now have at least nine hours off between shifts instead of the current eight-hour minimum, under the new rules. In addition, controllers will not be allowed to switch shifts with another controller unless they have had at least nine hours off, and FAA managers will be working more late-night and early-morning shifts to better monitor controllers, USA Today reported.
But allowing controllers to have naps during a shift doesn't appear to be under consideration, even though some experts believe it's a good idea.
"On my watch, controllers will not be paid to take naps," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said on Fox News Sunday, according to USA Today. "We want to make sure they're well rested. We want to make (sure) that in the workplace there's the ability for them to do their job, but we're not going to pay controllers to be napping. We're not going to do that."
I'm not at all impressed.