A pilot study conducted by Oregon State University (OSU) examined the connection between rest stops for commercial drivers and truck accidents. The OSU College of Engineering studied a 290 mile stretch of Highway 97 over the course of seven years. This stretch of highway was the site of approximately $75 million worth damage due to at-fault truck crashes. Researchers found that not having enough rest stops for commercial drivers leads to increased accidents and crash harm.
The specific portion of Highway 97 chosen for the study runs north-south along the eastern slope of the Cascade Range in Oregon. This highway portion was chosen because the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) office in Bend, near the highway’s midpoint, had the idea for the study, which was then conducted by the OSU College of Engineering. The idea originated from the passage of Jason’s Law, which established increased federal funding for truck rest stops.
Jason’s Law was named after a trucker who was transporting commercial items in South Carolina. He grew tired and, because there were no truck rest stations nearby, he pulled over to take a nap at an abandoned gas station. He was then robbed and murdered while he slept inside his truck. Jason’s Law was included in the Transportation Reauthorization Bill and provides more than $6 million in federal funding for construction and restoration of safe truck stops.
Property-carrying commercial truck drivers are required to comply with Hours of Service regulations by pulling over and resting for at least ten hours after driving for 11 hours. However, truckers are often unable to safely comply with this law due to inadequate parking. Oregon, in particular, is known for having a demand for truck rest stops that exceeds supply, often leaving truckers with nowhere to park.
Crash Data and Trends
The study’s author notes that current crash data collection forms do not include a section for truck accidents caused by lack of parking but it can be assumed that truck accidents caused by specific circumstances such as driver fatigue may be the result of inadequate parking. Lack of parking is a problem for drivers not only in Oregon but in other states across the country as well. Researchers for the study surveyed more than 200 truck drivers, analyzed historical crash data, assessed the parking availability versus the demand along Highway 97 and looked at what other states were doing to address the issue.
They found that crash trends coincided with times when drivers stated they had trouble finding parking. The study’s author warns that as freight-related traffic continues to grow, parking shortages will continue to increase if the problem is not addressed. He suggests finding ways to promote public-private partnerships to ensure that truckers have the safe places to park and rest that they need.
Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Victims of Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that over 400,000 trucking accidents occur in the U.S. every year. If you suffered injuries in a trucking accident, contact an experienced Delaware truck accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Contact us online or call us at 302-888-1221 to schedule a consultation.