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Rest stops prevent truck driver fatigue, but they are dying out

Peppering highways and interstates running throughout Pennsylvania are rest stops. Not only were they pleasant place for drivers to have a picnic, use the restroom and check out a map, but also these rest stops were a beacon to weary truck drivers. Even the simplest ones still provided truck drivers with a safe place to stop and catch some sleep. After all, a drowsy truck driver is a dangerous truck driver. But, these rest stops are starting to disappear across the nation.

One reason these rest stops are closing is due to a lack of funding for state transportation agencies, who are unable to maintain and renovate rest stops that are not seeing enough traffic. Another reason is that many people choose to stop at service plazas and commercial strips that sell food and fuel.

But, some of those in support of traditional rest stops state that they are still necessary. In fact, they see the closing of rest stops as a dangerous safety issue. Rest stops can provide drowsy drivers a safe place to catch some shut-eye, which in turn, keeps the roads safer.

This is especially true for truck drivers, who must follow federal regulations on the amount of time they can spend on the road. In fact, according to an American Trucking Associates spokesperson, there are a lack of places outside of rest stops for truckers to stop for the night, especially outside of big cities.

While commercial truck stops may be available, they tend to fill quickly, leaving truckers without a safe place to pull over and rest. In fact, having semi-trucks park on the side of the road is not just dangerous, but also against the law. Rest stops are a safe option as they often have adequate lighting and the company of other truck drivers.

The disappearance of traditional rest areas deserves attention. States may have trouble maintaining these areas, but some believe they provide necessary services, without which would cause safety issues. Truck accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers are a real danger. Rest stops are just one way to combat drowsy driving, which keeps Pennsylvania roads safer for all motorists.

Source: USA Today, "Why old-fashioned highway rest stops are disappearing," Jenni Bergal, April 1, 2017

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