CORVALLIS, Ore. - A pilot study by Oregon State University illustrates the high economic cost of having too few safe places for commercial truck drivers to park and rest.
Over a seven-year period on one 290-mile stretch of highway alone, at-fault truck crashes resulted in approximately $75 million of "crash harm," research conducted by the OSU College of Engineering for the Oregon Department of Transportation shows.
"Current crash data collection forms don't have an explicit section for truck-parking-related crashes, but we can operate under the assumption that specific types of at-fault truck crashes, such as those due to fatigue, may be the result of inadequate parking," said the study's lead author, Salvador Hernandez, a transportation safety and logistics researcher at Oregon State.
Hernandez and graduate research assistant Jason Anderson analyzed Oregon's portion of U.S. Highway 97, which runs the entire north-south distance of the state along the eastern slope of the Cascade Range.
Highway 97 was chosen, Hernandez said, because the idea for the study originated from ODOT's office in Bend, which is near the highway's Oregon midpoint.
An impetus for the research was the 2012 passage of "Jason's Law," which prioritized federal funding to address a national shortage of truck parking.