As truck accident lawyers in Indiana, we have been very concerned at our state’s decision to close truck stops in an effort to deal with budgetary deficits. Last year, the Indiana Department of Transportation closed seven truck stops in the state. Other states around the country have followed suit, shutting down rest areas in an effort to meet budgetary shortfalls, and in the process, placing truckers and motorists at risk from fatigue-related accidents, violence, robberies and other adverse incidents.
A new piece of federal legislation called Jason’s Law could change all that. The bill, if passed, will provide for financing of new truck stops across the country, enhancing existing parking areas for 18-wheelers, and improving access to truck stops and parking facilities on our highways.
Jason’s Law is named for Jason Rivenburg, a truck driver from New York who was shot and killed during a robbery in an abandoned gas station in South Carolina, where he had parked his truck for the night. His widow, Hope, is spearheading efforts to have Jason’s Law passed. Her desire – and any Indiana truck accident attorney would agree – is that no truck driver should ever be faced with the choice of parking in an unsafe area and being attacked, parking on a highway shoulder and increasing accident risks for motorists, or driving past his maximum number of work hours and violating federal law.
All of these are important safety issues. A truck parked on a highway shoulder may not be visible to motorists, increasing the risk of an accident. Across the country, the number of commercial truck thefts has increased dramatically, since the economy began to slide. These thieves are making off with tractor-trailers, and obviously, a lone driver in his loaded trailer in an abandoned location is a soft target for robbers.
It’s the issue of driver fatigue that concerns us the most. If we intend to place pressure on truckers to stay within the hours of service rules, we must make sure that they have access to safe and convenient rest areas when their schedule demands.
The Indiana truck accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson and Kennedy are dedicated to the representation of victims of personal injury, including truck accidents throughout the state of Indiana.