Truckers in Minnesota seek a government place to pee, and rest

Before anyone dismisses state highway rest areas as an unnecessary service and expense during the government shutdown, consider the plight of pissed off long-haul truckers.

While most drivers speed past the cone zones that block access to the rest areas, heading for a pit stop at the next fast food joint down the road, the Minnesota Trucking Association says its members are left to squirm.


Those state rest areas are the only places big enough for the trucks to pull off the road safely, organization president John Hausladen says. Not only that, but drivers are required by law to pull over and rest after 11 hours of driving.

And the MTA's concerns go beyond having a safe place to pee. In the shutdown it may become impossible for truckers to file required safety forms, and subject their rigs to weigh-ins, as long as the shutdown goes on. That, in turn, will put a squeeze on Minnesota's economy.

So Hausladen's group is joining a growing list of those pleading special cases before the court-appointed master in charge of defining essential services in need of funding. Also in line today: the Dayton administration, which wants to add special education aid, chemical dependency and mental health services, HIV case management and counseling services, and services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes to its growing list of what's essential.