Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sleeping in the Office

I work in an office. Once in a while, at the end of the work day, I’m so wrapped up in what I’m doing I completely go past my scheduled quit time. It’s not popular at my house, but a quick explanation to my husband, Sweetie Pie, and a biscuit for Chester, my 95-lb. puppy and all is well.

It’s not that way for commercial vehicle drivers. Depending on the circumstances, their work day must end sometime within the 10 or 11 hours since they started work. Have 10 and a half hours on the clock and you’re just 45 minutes from your favorite restaurant? Sorry. Maybe you can stop there for breakfast. For commercial drivers, quittin’ time is federally regulated.

It’s that way because fatigued drivers make more mistakes than those who are well-rested. Seriously, who wants to share a highway with any driver, even one in a sedan, who has been on the road for 12 hours or more? So all of those long-haul truck drivers you see every day have to find a place to pull over, climb into the sleeper and get some shut-eye – in fact, they sleep in their office.

You’re a driver who made it to Missouri? Good. You’re in luck. In addition to traditional rest spots like rest areas (which all welcome trucks) and truck plazas, we’ve got truck-only parking areas. Most began their roadside existence as weigh stations, though several were rest areas in a former life. When they no longer served their original purpose well, MoDOT converted them to serve as safe, convenient, though basic spots where drivers can wrap up their day and get some rest. We’re one state where drivers don’t have to go as far to find a nice place to stop.

Check it out for yourself at All of Missouri’s rest areas, welcome centers and truck-only parking areas are plotted on a map of the state. The more convenient, safe and plentiful we make truck parking, the more efficient drivers can be, the cheaper the transportation and consumer costs for things like the gallon of milk I need to buy on the way home…and the dog biscuits. I cannot forget the dog biscuits!