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Tired air traffic controllers can skip work, listen to radio

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal aviation officials say air traffic controllers will be allowed to use sick or annual leave time if they are too tired to work.

(Photo: Jay Westcott)

The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it has reached an agreement on with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association on several policy changes aimed at keeping controllers alert on the job, especially during overnight shifts.

Since April, the FAA has disclosed seven instances of controllers sleeping on the job this year. In one case, two airliners landed without assistance from a controller who was dozing.

Sleep scientists have said most night shift workers, not just controllers, face difficulties staying awake, especially if they aren't active.

Controllers will also now be allowed to listen to the radio and read on overnight shifts when air traffic is light.

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