Seen At 11: Before You Hit The Road, Beware Of Ghost Rest Stops

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a warning for drivers before hitting the road this summer: while planning your trip, you might want to also plan your rest stops.

As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, the old adage “no rest for the weary” couldn’t be more true if you’re traveling by car this summer.

“The driver may be fatigued, may need some coffee, may need to relieve him or herself, and this is the best we can do?” asked AAA spokesperson Robert Sinclair.

The Harding rest stop off Interstate 287 in New Jersey has been closed since 2006. It’s one of many in the area — and hundreds across the country — that were shuttered due to budget cuts.

“What’s left here leaves a lot to be desired with port-a-potties that are filthy and reports about some illicit activities going on here from time to time,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair recommends drivers take a break every 100 miles, and says a lack of rest stops is not only inconvenient, but dangerous.

“If you’ve gone that 100 miles and then there is no rest stop for another 100 miles, you’re probably going to be fatigued or uncomfortable or hungry,” he said.

The Schodack rest area off I-87 near Albany has been closed for five years despite a note on the Department of Transportation website that says it’s only temporarily closed.

“This is not a temporary closure. This is a permanent closure,” said Lou Esposito.

It’s a problem, not just for car drivers, but also for truckers.

Esposito represents an independent truck driver association and says by law, truckers must pull over and rest every 11 hours. Except, he says there’s no longer any safe place for them to do that.

“That’s why you see truckers parked on the interstate, on the off ramp and on ramps,” he said.

“On March 3rd, Jason left our home, picked up a load out of Roxbury, New York, headed to Virginia,” said Hope Rivenburg.

But Rivenburg said Jason — her husband and a father of three — never returned. A truck driver, he was shot and killed in 2009 at an abandoned gas station, the only place he could find to pull over to rest.

Now, Rivenburg is turning her grief into action.

She successfully lobbied Congress to pass a bill known as Jason’s Law, which provides safer parking, and not just for truckers.

“Everybody on the roadway is at risk,” she said.

New York’s DOT told CBS2 it has six stops that are temporarily closed, but one will reopen this fall.

New Jersey’s DOT said a number of stops are still open. For more information on rest stops on I-80, click here. For For more information on rest stops on I-280, click here.

Jason’s Law is still under review.

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