Truckers and Trucking Groups Express Outrage Over Rest Area Closures

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) set off a firestorm of outrage within the trucking community when it closed all of its rest areas statewide on Tuesday.

“All PennDOT rest areas and welcome centers statewide will be closed to the public effective 12:01 AM Tuesday, March 17, 2020,” PennDOT said in an announcement on Monday. “These rest area and welcome center closures are in addition to those previously announced in Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties.”

Transportation Nation Network (TNN) was the first trucking news outlet to break the story early Tuesday morning and truckers and trucking groups have been sounding off on it throughout the day.

 

In response to the closures, Susan Cobleigh wrote on TNN’s Facebook page, “I won’t be delivering to Pennsylvania any time soon then!!!”

Debbie Page expressed bewilderment, writing, “Why would they do this? If people are not traveling and going to parks, outings, etc. the only people they’re going to hurt is truckers.”

Rebecca Pelham said, “Shame on you PA! I WON’T DELIVER TO YOU!”

“So we’re suppose to sh-t in the parking lot???,” Dennis Cormack asked.

Mike Snodgrass reported, “They got them barricade off. At least leave parking open.”

 

Shannon Tuck undoubtedly spoke for many truckers when she weighed in with, “And yet they want truckers to continue hauling their supplies. What a bunch of sh-t!”

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Truckers are not alone in their anger.

The industry’s largest and most powerful trade group, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), released a statement after hearing the news.

“Maintaining interstate commerce is critical to keeping stores stocked, hospitals supplied & first responders equipped during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the ATA said. “Very importantly, this includes keeping rest stops and commercial parking areas open and accessible for truck drivers so they can safely and efficiently move goods.”

 

ATA notified that it was in contact with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and other federal agencies about the issue.

“We urge state and local officials to not impede commerce and highway safety when issuing public restrictions and other decrees,” the ATA implored.

The Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) told its members it was in contact with Pennsylvania officials urging them, “DO NOT CRIPPLE trucking by closing rest areas.”

OOIDA warned, “Closed rest areas puts their health, safety at risk.”

 

TNN has reached out to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding the PennDOT closures and have yet to hear back as of time of publishing.

We will update this article with the FMCSA’s response if/when we receive one.

TNN will continue to follow new developments.

 


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