The San Diego Union-Tribune reported this week that California lawmakers voted down State Bill 328, which would have required middle and high schools to start no earlier than 830am. State senators voted 30-26 against the bill. Opponents cited that they favored local control over complicated shifts in bell times. The bill would have given control over these decisions to state leaders.
The purpose of the bill, introduced by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) was to align school start times statewide with teen sleep cycles. Currently, 80 percent of the state’s high schools start before 830am.
Research shows that teens who start school before 830am are chronically sleep deprived. Chronic sleep loss is known to increase adolescent risks for depressive mood disorders, drowsy driving, chronic obesity, and reduced academic and athletic performance.
Senator Portantino vows to bring the bill back for a vote in 2018.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced they will release a new report in 2018 regarding two separate train derailments. They confirmed this week that both were caused by undiagnosed sleep apnea in railway operators, said this report from PIX-11 New York.
The crashes in question include one in Hoboken, NJ in 2016 and another in Brooklyn in 2017. Both engineers were determined to have sleep apnea prior to the crashes. Neither were officially diagnosed until after the accidents. One person was killed and 200 others injured in the crashes.
Following the release of its 2500-page report, the NTSB cited “too many common circumstances” for the inspiration behind the special investigation. Both trains were found to be traveling at more than twice the speed limit. Also, both crashes occurred at stations where automatic speed controls (which can slow or stop the vehicles) had been exempted from federal regulations.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. has actively pushed for government-mandated screenings for transportation workers. Schumer called the Trump’s administration’s move last June, to decommission a formal plan for screening regulations, “unconscionable.”
“We can’t have train engineers with undiagnosed sleep apnea at risk of falling asleep at the switch,” Schumer said.
Meanwhile, the administration argues testing decisions should be left to the railroads.
Earlier this week, Riverdale television star KJ Apa (“Archie”) worked a 16-hour shift on set in Vancouver, then got behind the wheel of a car after midnight and fell asleep. Apa’s vehicle struck a light pole, rendering it inoperable.
Though Apa escaped the wreck without serious injury, the accident has prompted an investigation from the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), according to reports in the The Hollywood Reporter.
“This is an extremely troubling situation and we are deeply concerned about the safety of performers on the Riverdale set,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement released Thursday. “We are sending a team to Vancouver to review the circumstances surrounding safety issues affecting performers on this production.”
Meanwhile, Riverdale producer WBTV refutes Apa’s claim of working a 16-hour work day. It replied in a statement that “the safety of the cast and crew on all of our productions is of paramount importance to the Studio.”
NBC News reported this week that the Armed Services Committee, in a hearing held before an audience of family members and legislators, “broadly condemned” the Navy for recent and deadly accidents they determined were preventable and the result of “sailor’s fatigue.”
The USS John S. McCain (named after Sen. John McCain’s father and grandfather) and an oil tanker collided in Southeast Asia in August, killing 10 sailors and injuring five.
Previously in June, seven sailors died when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided in waters off Japan.
Defense readiness expert John Pendleton, who works with the Government Accountability Office, revealed that Japan-based vessels have been unable to meet demanding warfare certification requirements. He also said that, due to budget-led reductions in ship crew populations, fewer sailors are being asked to work much longer hours to keep up.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. John McCain, said that sailors “should not be working 100 hours a week…That’s common sense that doesn’t require a study.”
Admiral John Richardson, chief of naval operations, promised the committee: “We will fix this. I own this problem …we will be better in the end.”
He told committee members that the Navy is reviewing safety standards, ship certifications and force readiness to demonstrate that US sailors can remain alert on the job. This includes efforts by commanders to address concerns about fatigue by making sure their forces get enough sleep.