Truckers unite to protect blind woman's job, save Indiana rest stops

| 5/5/2006

The trucking community has banded together to help save the job of a blind woman who works at an Interstate rest area in Indiana. However, whether her job is actually at risk is still up in the air.

Betty Tetziaff, who’s worked as a vending machine stocker at the northbound and southbound rest stops on Interstate 65 near Roselawn, IN, for 20 years, made headlines last week when local media reported that she might be in danger of losing her job if the state’s Department of Transportation closes the rest stops.

The trucking industry and visitors to the rest stops sprung into action upon hearing the news, signing 500 signatures on a petition to keep the rest areas open, the Indiana Post-Tribune reported.

DOT spokeswoman Brandi Davis-Handy told Land Line a committee was formed in November 2005 to develop a game plan for rest areas across the state. However, none of the details of the plan – including the future of the I-65 stops, located just south of Gary, IN – have been released to the public.

Although the possibility of the rest stops’ closure is still unknown, Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said even considering closing the stops is a big mistake on the DOT’s part.

“Our Indiana members should be communicating with their lawmakers, that now is not the time to be closing any rest areas,” Spencer said. “We see that rest area as being very important for truckers to get rest, and to comply with hours of service.”

According to a 2002 study by the Federal Highway Administration, Indiana is ranked 37th out of 49 states, excluding Hawaii, for its total commercial parking availability.

– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer