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Pilots to get more sleep

September 10, 2010, 08:56 pm

Pilots could be getting a little more shut-eye before they take a plane down the runway thanks to a proposed rule by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Currently, pilots are required to have only an eight-hour time frame for rest before duty. That time frame would be increased to nine hours under the proposed rule. The measure would also change how time off is calculated.

"This proposal is a significant enhancement for aviation safety," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Both pilots and passengers will benefit from these proposed rules that will continue to ensure the safety of our nation's air transportation system."

The affects of operating equipment without enough sleep can be significant, especially since many people continue to go about their day when they know they need to rest. The National Sleep Foundation says that it's possible for someone to fall into a "microsleep" without being aware of it. Even if someone doesn't fall asleep, being drowsy can reduce a person's reaction time.

The proposal is a big step forward for LaHood and FAA administrator Randy Babbitt, who highlighted addressing pilot fatigue as a major safety issue last year.ADNFCR-3158-ID-19938767-ADNFCR

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