Those of us who regularly drive the interstates and parkways of Kentucky frequently see signs for truck stops, weigh stations and rest areas. We mostly ignore those unless we’re looking for a place to let the dog out, use the restroom or perhaps have a picnic lunch. However, for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), they can be crucial to staying safe behind the wheel.

A recently published University of Kentucky study found that CMV crashes that were attributed to driver fatigue are most likely to occur in locations some distance from any type of rest area, including weigh stations. Researchers found a correlation between the distance of a spot to the nearest rest area and the number of fatigue-related crashes at that spot.

In incidents studied, the likelihood of such a crash was two-and-a-half times greater when the nearest rest area was 20 to 40 miles away. That number rose significantly when there wasn’t a rest area within 40 miles.

The study was based on crash data involving roadways along the KYTC Designated National Truck Network that have at least one area where drivers can pull off to rest. Researchers noted that there were more rest areas along Kentucky’s parkways than its interstates.

The researchers called for “increased truck parking on the federally designated National Network for trucks, particularly on parkway routes” and called for the expansion of existing rest areas. They also called for more emphasis on “policies and interventions such as the use of commercial vehicle driver fatigue alert systems, and driving schedules that allow adequate time for breaks and minimize nighttime driving.”

Because of the sheer size and weight of many tractor-trailers, as well as the weight and possible toxicity of their cargo, crashes with them can cause severe injuries.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crash where the CMV driver was at fault, it’s essential to determine who can and should be held liable. This can help you seek the compensation you and your family deserve as you work to heal and to rebuild your lives.