“Rest area closed.”

No one understands the frustration of a closed rest stop better than a trucker.

As states attempt to whittle down their budgets, these highway oases are often hit. The state’s residents rarely use the services and don’t put up much fuss, and most tourists can simply drive another few miles to find the nearest gas station.

For truckers, however, it’s another story. Federal guidelines require truckers to stop for the night after a certain number of hours. If that time is up before the next available rest area appears, what’s a trucker to do? 

If he’s lucky, he just might get one of the few truck parking spots at the nearest Maryland Welcome Center. More often, a weary driver simply pulls over on the shoulder, ready to spend the night parked along the side of a busy interstate.

That’s not the safest choice for the driver or other motorists, say advocates of a new $8 million project intended to pave the way for more truckers to stop safely.

The State Highway Administration recently received $2.6 million in federal grants to increase the number of truck parking spots at the South Welcome Center in Howard County along Interstate 95.

The project, expected to begin next spring, will take a year to complete and will provide truckers with an additional 40 parking spots, nearly triple what’s currently available at the popular rest area.

A spokesperson for the SHA noted that driver safety is a priority in the project. Top causes for Maryland truck accidents include sleepy drivers and bad weather, both issues that can be helped by providing more parking — and better spots than the highway shoulder — for truckers.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck crash, you know only too well how important trucker safety is in Maryland. For more information about your rights, contact an experienced Maryland truck accident attorney at 1-800-875-9700 today.