Title

Circadian and environmental effects on the timing and duration of truck drivers' breaks at public rest areas and private truck stops in Connecticut

Date of Completion

January 2000

Keywords

Health Sciences, Occupational Health and Safety|Psychology, Industrial|Transportation

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The present study tested the hypothesis that time of day and type of stop (public rest area or private truck stop) influence the duration of truck drivers' breaks as well as occupancy levels in truck parking areas. A total of 6,081 vehicles were observed entering and exiting three public rest areas and two private truck stops during continuous 25-hour periods. Analyses revealed that truck drivers took longer breaks during nighttime (1800–0559) hours compared to daytime (0600–1759) hours and at private truck stops compared to public rest areas. In addition, public rest areas were more crowded than private truck stops and all truck parking lots observed were most crowded at night. ^ These findings provide support for a circadian pattern of breaks among truck drivers at public rest areas and private truck stops in Connecticut. They also suggest that design characteristics of public rest areas and private truck stops influence the timing and duration of breaks. Finally, this research demonstrates that occupancy levels of public rest areas and private truck stops vary systematically by time of day and that overcrowding at public rest areas is a serious problem for truck drivers in Connecticut. Modifications to the size and design of new and existing public rest areas and private truck stops may have the potential to increase the length of truck drivers' breaks by providing accessible, clean, secure facilities in which drivers may meet their break-taking needs. ^