Fatal Crash Raises Concerns Over Where Truckers Park For Night

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It happens every night along the busy highways of the Northeast Corridor – truckers pull over, put their blinking lights on and get some sleep.

But a fatal crash earlier this month is re-igniting concerns about where drivers put the brakes on.

In the Sept. 14 accident, a young driver and his passenger died when police say he lost control of his SUV and veered into the emergency lane on Interstate-84 West in Southington, crashing into a parked tractor trailer.

The truck driver and his passenger were inside sleeping and not hurt.

No charges have been filed, but some are wondering if there wasn’t somewhere else that truck should and could have been parked.

Professional driver Ricky Johnson hauls loads from Newfoundland to Florida and says service areas and rest stops fill up quickly in the Tri-State area.

“Sometimes it starts even way before dark.  You have to get [to the rest areas] early, “he says. “Or you keep driving.”

Continuing to drive is not a good option when drivers are tired, so he says sometimes they are forced to pull to the side of the road and get some shut eye.

It’s not a new problem: A 2008 Connecticut Department of Transportation study of rest areas projected a parking deficit of more than 2,000 spaces by 2025 for both trucks and cars.

DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick says the department is renovating the state’s service areas and there will be 120 more truck parking spaces in the next few years.

He says private development of truck stops will help, as will drivers planning their travel better so they avoid busy rest areas.

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