Lack of Adequate Rest Stops Puts Truck Drivers at RiskOctober 16, 2017
Driving a commercial truck for a living can be stressful, lonely, and exhausting, particularly when there are not enough safe places for the driver to pull over and rest. Rest stops should have ample parking and provide a well-lit place to rest that is a short distance from the truck route. A study recently conducted by Oregon State University (OSU) examined the high cost of insufficient rest stops, both from an economic perspective and how it impacts driver safety.
The OSU College of Engineering examined a 290-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 97 over the course of seven years and found that at-fault truck accidents resulted in roughly $75 million in what is referred to as “crash harm.” Highway 97, which runs the entire north-south distance of the state, was chosen because the idea for the study came from the ODOT’s office in Bend, which is located near the midpoint of the highway. The researchers initiated the study in response to the 2012 passing of Jason’s Law, named for Jason Rivenburg, who was robbed and killed at gunpoint after he pulled into an abandoned gas station to rest. The law makes safe parking for truck drivers a national priority.
Salvador Hernandez, transportation safety and logistics researcher at OSU said that while current crash data collection forms do not include a section for crashes that are related to insufficient parking, it is safe to assume that truck accidents caused by drowsy driving are largely due to a lack of safe parking stops. Commercial truck drivers who have been on the road for 11 hours are required to park and rest for 10 hours before they can get back on the road. However, too often, truck drivers struggle to meet these hours of service rules because they are unable to find safe locations that have adequate parking spots. In high-use corridors, there may be rest stops, but because they are in high demand, there are often no spots left by the time a truck driver shows up. Sometimes, drivers will park in undesignated spaces, which can pose safety issues.
Hernandez warned that if nothing is done to address this problem, the truck parking shortages will continue to grow, as will the safety issues associated with it. One possible solution, he said, is to consider developing and promoting public-private partnerships where the state and the trucking industry work together to solve the problem. Waiting for autonomous vehicles to take over the trucking industry is not the answer, as some people in the auto industry may predict. The priority right now is to provide truck drivers with enough safe places to park and obtain the rest they need.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Drowsy Driving Accidents
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a truck accident, the experienced Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side. Truck accidents can be extremely traumatic and destructive, and if the truck driver involved was drowsy at the time of the accident, we will ensure that the appropriate parties are held accountable. Protecting your rights is our top priority and we will seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.