The recent announcement by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding possible closings of nearly one-third of the state’s rest stops has angered semi-truck drivers and could potentially create additional hazards for motorcycle and motor vehicle drivers.
In addition to closing 10 “fully-functioning” rest areas, the state is considering shedding all 16 parking only areas, which will make it difficult – if not impossible – for semi-truck drivers to park and sleep, as required by regulations.
Semi-trucks and their drivers are subject to federal regulations, as defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that provide one, eight, fourteen and 60/70 rest to driving ratio limits to protect the safety of the truck driver and motor vehicle drivers who share the road with the behemoths.
Semi-truck versus car
Failure to yield or the inability of a semi-truck to stop short, improperly loaded or secured cargo and reckless driving on the part of the semi-truck driver results in the injury of more than 130,000 people every year.
National crash statistics illustrate the necessity for FMCSA and DOT regulations:
- 90 percent of semi-truck accidents are the result of human error
- Nearly one quarter of semi-truck versus car accidents result in severe injury
- Rollover, jackknife and front-end collisions account for 50 percent of semi-truck accidents
- Semi-truck drivers who are impaired or sleep deprived are 98 percent more likely to cause an accident that results in a fatality
Sleep deprivation and truckers – a dangerous combination
The potential closing of the parking-only areas will likely impact semi-truck drivers more than any other segment of the Iowa population. The effect, according to Cliff Woods, will be devastating.
Woods is a distance semi-truck driver. He said, of the closings, “it’s going to kill us because we are already struggling to find places to park now.”
Andrea Henry, an official with the Iowa DOT said that the organization studied and created a ranking system for the closures. Stops that were considered to be too close together are at the top of the closings list. “The plan is not guaranteed, we are still receiving feedback,” she said. Henry added that the rest stops that they are considering closing “need a significant investment,” to be updated.
Truckers argue that the rest stops are fine and fully-functioning – and if they are closed, tired truckers who need to sleep will not have a place to park, which will create unnecessary hazards for Iowa drivers.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with semi-truck, please call the law offices of Eells & Tronvold immediately. Pay close attention to how you feel, both at the scene of the accident and in the ensuing hours and days. Keep a journal and detail your injuries.
Semi-truck fatalities in Iowa
Recent news out of Clayton County and Eastern Iowa clearly demonstrate the need for parking areas for truckers – and for the use of extreme caution on the part of car, motorcycle, truck and semi-truck drivers who share the roadways.
A rear-end crash with a semi-truck crashed killed Francis Forst, 82, last month. Forst was driving her pick-up truck on Highway 52 when she collided with a semi driven by a trucker from Louisiana. The truck driver was not injured in the crash, and the cause of the accident remains unknown.
Even the most minor fender-bender can cause missed work, medical bills and car repair costs. We understand that the impact of a crash – particularly a crash with a semi-truck – can wreck you finances and your physical health. We will aggressively help you fight for fair compensation and a favorable settlement.
Please call 319-393-1020 to schedule your free consultation today. To learn more about semi-truck injury claims, please visit Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, PLC.
Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, PLC
1921 51st Street NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402