Should Air Traffic Controllers Be Allowed To Sleep During Their Breaks?

Apr 19, 2011

During his story today on Morning Edition about the half-dozen incidents in recent weeks when air traffic controllers were reportedly asleep on the job as passenger jets came in for late-night landings at major airports, NPR's Brian Naylor reported that "the governments of some countries, including Japan and Germany ... allow controllers to sleep during their breaks."

And, Brian said, "a study commissioned by the FAA and the controllers union recommended a similar policy in the U.S."

But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said he won't allow such a policy to be put in place. Instead, the FAA is focusing on adding second controllers to late-night shifts that have been staffed by just one person. And, the FAA is pushing to give controllers longer mandatory time off between shifts.

We wonder what you think:

We'll keep the question open until the end of the day on Wednesday. Note: It's not a scientific survey; it's aimed at sparking discussion, which we encourage in the comments thread. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit