Why truck driver fatigue is a bigger problem at night

Truck driver fatigue is a problem on the roads in Alameda County, particularly on the interstates and other major highways that are busy commercial delivery routes. According to one government statistic, over 13 percent, more than 1 in 10, drivers involved in a crash were considered fatigued.

Interestingly, incidents of truck driver fatigue occur more often at night, especially after midnight in the early morning hours, and in the mid-afternoon, between 2 and 4. In fact, some research has shown that the time of day in which a driver is operating may be more significant with respect to truck driver fatigue than how long the driver has been on the road.

While some Californians may realize this anecdotally, there is some science behind this in that the human biological clock, the circadian rhythm and causes a natural lull in one's system during those times. If a driver is already drowsy, then this natural lull gets exaggerated to the point where a driver is more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel or make some other key mistake due to tiredness.

Ideally, a driver will simply not operate in the early morning hours or, for that matter, even during the customary siesta time. However, when this is not possible, a trucker has an obligation to be especially alert for the signs of drowsiness and, if necessary, pull over to take a nap.

While motorists need to be aware that truck accidents due to fatigued drivers are more likely at night, it is ultimately, a truck driver's responsibility to be sure that they are alert and able to driver their large vehicle at all times. If they fail in this responsibility, then they can be held financially accountable for the injuries they cause.

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