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Trucker Rest Stop Closings vs Trucker Safety


There’s been a lot of talk about VDOT proposal to close down more than half of the rest stops in Virginia, with most on the I-81 corridor. If this proposal were to pass, more than 300 miles would exist between rest stops on I-81 in Va.  Since drivers are required to stop after 11  hours of driving, what happens if there is no parking available?  Do they continue driving illegally or do they park illegally?  Either way, it could become a serious safety issue for them.

Truck drivers all over are extremely concerned ( to put it mildly). Parking was a problem before the new proposal, how much worse it will be?  A  major factor we need to look at is the safety of the driver. Recently, a young man was shot twice in the head while parked at an abandoned gas station in a rural area in South Carolina.  Jason Rivenburg was only 35 years old with a small child and two more on the way. The reaon for his death? Seven dollars that he was carrying. This story has outraged many, and it should! When those of us, who already know the lack of parking situation, hear about senseless murders like this, taking advantage of tired, sleeping, defenseless drivers, we become angry.

Now, lets look at something else for a moment. The economy as everyone knows, is not at its best. People are losing jobs daily and many become desperate. For a small group of individuals, desperate means that they’ll do anything!

Just think for a moment what the combination is for a falling economy and truck parking closings:

If truck driver Jason Rivenburg was shot and killed for seven dollars,  and more rest stops for drivers are going to be closed, what kind of sitting duck targets do you think truck drivers will be when they are forced to pull over in areas so they may legally rest.

Are you seeing the picture?  Does everyone see the potential for the risk and safety hazards drivers will be faced with? And what is the major reason for the VDOT rest stop closings? It’s a remedy to save 12 million dollars towards an anticipated 2.6 budget billion dollar shortage. If this proposal goes through, I’m just wondering how many more tragedies would have to occur before someone would admit that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea.

Personally, I don’t think the proposal will be passed. It will take many of us voicing our opinions though. We have to get the general public involved. When more people outside of trucking are made aware of the seriousness of this situation, they will become involved…it’s just making them aware.

Regulations are always calling out for “safety” first!  Where is the safety in causing weary, out of hours drivers being forced to continue on in order to find a safe and secure parking area?

Call your represetatives, contact your local news, contact the DOT.

© 2009 – 2013, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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  1. […] to, Tachoblog can let you hear Jeffrey Caldwell, Chief of Communitions for VDOT, speaking on Truth […]

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