Truckers say reopening Virginia rest stops will help prevent fatigue

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) recently announced the reopening of 19 rest stops (.pdf file) that were previously closed under former Gov. Tim M. Kaine (D) to save $9 million annually. The rest stops are scheduled to reopen in mid-February.

According to a press release, VDOT will use $3 million from its maintenance reserve fund to operate the facilities through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. Long-term funding for the rest areas will be identified as VDOT revises its maintenance budget this spring. State officials are considering options to defray operation costs -- including allowing nonviolent inmate work crews to provide maintenance, landscaping and repair work.

Members of the American Trucking Associations praised McDonnell, saying rest areas are important for the safety of the average motorist and professional truck drivers because they help prevent driver fatigue and provide accommodations for motorists' personal needs while on the road. Arlington, VA-based ATA further said closing rest areas encourages drivers to make stops along highway shoulders, which is a dangerous practice, and removal of the rest stations hindered truck drivers' ability to meet federal hours-of-service regulations.

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