Minnesota trooper clarifies RV overnighting in rest areas

Sgt. Dickenson

Duluth, Minnesota’s News Tribune features a question and answer segment where readers post a question. In today’s question for Ask a Trooper a reader questions whether an RVer could “stay in a RV at a Minnesota rest area.”

The question was answered by Minnesota State Patrol Sergeant Neil Dickenson.

“Commercial motor vehicle operators subject to hours of service regulations may stop and park continuously, for a period of up to ten hours as necessary to comply with the hours of service regulations, at any MnDOT safety rest area or travel information center that has parking stalls designed to accommodate a commercial motor vehicle. All other motorists are permitted to stop at rest areas for up to four hours, where posted.

“Rest areas are essential safety features on the highway system that help address driver fatigue, a major cause of serious crashes. Their basic service is crash prevention. Studies show that a 15- to 20-minute break improves individual performance, even among sleep-deprived people.”

The trooper did not indicate what the ramifications would be if RVers overstayed at a rest stop, but if RVers were taking up spaces meant for the safety and as a rest stop for commercial vehicle operators, the state patrol may take a dim view any RVer’s use in excess of four hours.

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16 Thoughts to “Minnesota trooper clarifies RV overnighting in rest areas”

  1. Dogpound

    We have travel through many other States that have Travel Services plus large parking lots as a rest area It just makes sense to use these as such. We have never been pressured to buy anything however if you need something buy it.

  2. Dogpound

    Rest areas should be operated as a business. There should be services there that would support the rest area itself besides vending machines. Any sujggestions??

    1. Billy Bob Thorton

      Sure do. They CAN’T be run as a business, it’s the government, the whole “for profit” is like oil and water to them.

      As to the other commenter, no the police can’t be held liable for enforcing the law, the law is just wrong, so either petition a MN legislator to submit changing legislation, or, cut their federal highway funds till they see the light.

  3. Doug

    I have been Rving since the 70’s and have rested in rest areas since then and have never been asked to leave. My question is what would happen if a LEO TOLD ME TO LEAVE AND I FELL ASLEEP or had accident soon afterwards because of being too tired to drive could the LEO be held responsible for accident.

  4. Billy Bob Thorton

    Minnesota needs to have their federal highway funds cut, because they have become a danger to the driving public. Too many times recently, I have great where the State of Minnesota has lost site that it is the people, not some dumb beaurocrat in charged. Cut their funding, then watch them pay attention!

  5. BILL BATEMAN

    WOW! Embarrassing to hear from so many RV’ers whining about this. Some are probably complaining about people sleeping in their cars on residential streets. As for “planning” ahead for a dedicated area to rest, isn’t that what Rv parks and campgrounds are for?

  6. Sherry Dawson

    One piece of “wisdom” I have read is for sleepy drivers to stop the moment they start feeling sleepy. Don’t wait, as you can’t really wake yourself up while continuing to drive. Buy (or for RVers, prepare) a cup of coffee and drink it down. Then go to sleep immediately. The caffeine will kick in after about 15-20 minutes and wake you up. If you are now feeling refreshed and awake, continue driving. (I also take a short walk around to stretch the muscles and get the kinks out, get in a bathroom break, and splash my face with water.)

    The articles don’t say what to do if you don’t wake refreshed after the coffee and nap. But I think it would mean that you are actually sleep deprived, which means you should not be driving at all!

  7. Jerry

    Sleepy guys driving big RVs sure sounds to me like a safety issue for professional truckers on the road.

  8. Don G

    We have slept 8 hours at more rest areas than I could possibly ever count and have never been asked to leave by a trooper or anyone else. 4 hours may be the troopers interpretation of rest areas, but I bet they have a lot more important things to do besides sit and view video looking for rv’s that stayed past the 4 hour mark. JMO

  9. rvgrandma

    I liked in Florida they had separate areas for truckers and RVers. The other thing – why can’t truckers stay at truck stops which is designed for them? It just takes organizing your day to be at a truck stop when you need to take mandatory break.

    The only time we were chased out of a rest area was in California at 6 am when they were closing it down so road construction equipment could come it for work on the Interstate.

    1. Kevun

      Truck stops are overcrowded too. There is a serious parking shortage for truckers which is why you see them parking in many places not designed for it. Many times they are awakened and told to move along which is also a safety issue.

    2. Bob p

      Truck stops are over crowded as it is, in the northeast if you’re not in a truck stop by 4pm you’re likely not going to find a spot. What is needed are more truck stops but nobody wants a truck stop near their neighborhood including city counsels. Believe me if truck stop owners could find land they’d build more truck stops.

  10. Charlie

    So, I need to be a “professional” driver to stay more than 4 hours? I can and do get as tired as a “professional,” so why can’t I sleep for 8-10 hours? Sounds like a bit of bias in the laws that apply to rest stops should be examined closer.

  11. Dr4Film ----- Richard

    What makes the safety of commercial truck drivers MORE important than the safety of a 45 foot RV driver? My theory is if a LEO asks me to leave I will leave without ANY confrontations which has NEVER happened in the 60K miles I have traveled so far from Alaska to Key West Florida.

  12. Chuck

    So if it’s mandated by federal hours of service regulations it’s a safety issue. For the rest of the motoring public, safety be damned. You must leave; tired or not.

  13. Vanessa

    I was thinking “how would they know how long you were there without waking up the truckers to see if you were there when they stopped.” Then DUHHHH big brothers cameras are everywhere so they would just have to view the video.

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