Reporting Aristea Brady
ROGERS, Minn. (WCCO) – Truckers driving through Minnesota are urging the state to reopen freeway rest areas so they can make mandatory stops.
The message is clear — open our rest areas or deal with a public safety issue.
Since the state shutdown, private truck stops are over capacity. According to truckers at a rest area in Rogers, the pit stops are three times as busy as normal.
It’s leaving truckers with two illegal options: drive too long or park in an unsafe spot.
“We don’t want to park on exit ramps and entrance ramps. It’s not safe. It’s not legal. But where are you going to park a 75-foot truck?,” said President of the Minnesota Trucking Association John Hausladen.
Trucker Tom Franks said it’s easy to see the impact.
“The truck stops are never this full during the day like this, and it’s pretty full,” he said. “A lot of people don’t want you parking in their parking lots.”
There are strict federal and state laws requiring truckers to pull over for 10 hours after driving a 14-hour shift.
“A lot of truckers were coming through here last night. It was full and they had no other place to go, so it’s not good,” Franks said.
In addition to now 700 fewer parking stalls, many truckers are left stranded with no access to facilities.
“You have to have a restroom, you have to be able to take a shower, you have to do all those basic things. You can’t just coup someone up in a truck for 10 hours and say, ‘Good luck,’” Hausladen said.
Truckers also can’t renew their commercial driver’s licenses online without a license or a method of renewal causing several of the trucks to come to a halt.
The Minnesota Trucking Association made a pitch Tuesday to a court-appointed special master. They say they hope to hear whether the state will reopen the freeway rest areas by Friday.