“Drowsy driving” is repeated frequently in RIDOT‘s Hopkinton rest stop proposal. RIDOT claims that a Hopkinton rest stop will fill a 100 mile gap between stops, provide travelers with a place to rest and therefore reduce the rate of accidents related to fatigue. But the fact of the matter is that RIDOT isn’t proposing a typical rest stop, it’s proposing something different. The actual gap is fewer than 7 miles.
Apples to Apples
The rest areas that the DOT refers to have ramps that connect directly to I-95. Drivers can quickly exit and re-enter the interstate without navigating local roads. RIDOT isn’t building one of those. RIDOT is proposing a rest stop that does not connect to the highway. It’s unfair that RIDOT is comparing its rest stop to the ones in MA and CT.
RIDOT doesn’t cite the source of its data, but according to its proposal, there were 29 drowsy driving accidents in “the Hopkinton and Richmond area” over the past 7 years. That’s an average of four (4) accidents per year. RIDOT does not include injury data, but it does state the cost: “$123,000 per each single vehicle roadway departure crash (most common fatigue-related crash type).” on page 31 of its proposal. RIDOT claims a rest stop like those in CT and MA will reduce that rate by about 70%, but that isn’t what RIDOT proposes.
Mind the Gap
How wide is the actual gap? When we compare stops similar to the DOT proposal — stops where food and fuel are available 24 x 7 and available within feet of the highway exit ramp — the actual gap is small. To the south is a rest stop at Exit 93 in Connecticut. It’s less than a half mile away. To the north is the village of Wyoming RI at Exits 3A and 3B. It’s only six (6) miles away.
Not to mention that there is food and fuel in Hopkinton, along Route 3, just over a mile from Exit 1. Additionally, at Exit 5 in West Greenwich there is 24 hour food and fuel, and again in Coventry.