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Big Rig Driver Falls Asleep, Crashes on Highway 101

Incident took place shortly after midnight on northbound lane just north of the Redwood Landfill.

The driver of a big rig fell asleep at the wheel early Wednesday morning and ran off Highway 101 just north of Novato, according to the California Highway Patrol.

There were no injuries and the truck stayed upright as it plowed through a fence and into Silveira Ranch land on the east side of 101, just north of the Redwood Landfill, according to CHP officer Patrick Roth. The truck stopped about 50 yards from the highway.

"He was lucky. There are lot of trees in that area," Roth said.

The CHP received a report of a swerving driver near Atherton Avenue at 12:18 a.m. but found that the crash was several miles north of the Atherton exit. The truck was off the right-hand shoulder and the wreck briefly caused delays in the area, according to the CHP report.

The rig had one blown-out tire from the off-road excursion. 

— Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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janna nikkola November 01, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Accidents like this are far more common that most people realize (big rig truck drivers on long hauls without sufficient sleep causing them to doze off or fall asleep at the wheel). It's fortunate that in this case the big rig went off the road in the right-hand lane, rather than crossing lanes into southbound oncoming traffic and causing a head-on collision with a southbound vehicle. Truck drivers often face unrealistic schedules which force them to continue driving without sufficient sleep, and not being able to stop often enough for breaks to rest which helps to keep them alert enough to continue driving safely. With the size of a big rig compared to an average size passenger car, when such a big rigs do collide with a passenger car, the truck driver ususally survives, but the driver and passengers in the smaller passenger car do not. Not all human mistakes can be corrected with more laws but, at some point, we'll probably have to have more legal restrictions on truck drivers about how long they can continue driving without breaks for sleep -- not only for their own safety, but for all the other drivers and passengers on the road who are endangered by over-tired big rig drivers. Union drivers often have rules about how long they can continue driving without a rest break, but independent truckers do not, and they're all accidents waiting to happen (often potentially fatal accidents). I'd be interested to know if this driver is being cited.

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