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Knoxville — The National Transportation Safety Board wants to help truck drivers get more rest during their trips on the road.

The NTSB has asked the Federal Highway Administration to lobby Congress to drop a federal ban on private development of interstate highway rest areas.

The director of the University of Tennessee Transportation Center said there is a need for more rest areas for long-haul truckers.

“You’ve got the amount of truck traffic increasing, due to the economy and free trade agreements,” said Dr. Steve Richards. “Truck traffic is way up, and unfortunately, fatigue-related truck accidents are way up.”

Richards said there seems to be a shortage of overnight truck parking places at private rest stops in some areas of the country.

“If you go to some truck plazas in the wee hours of the morning, you will often see truckers having to illegally park out on the shoulders of roadways and in public rest stops,” Richards said. “There’s certainly a demand for more rest areas.”

National trucking organizations support the move to privatize more public rest areas, but the owners of existing truck stops oppose it, saying it could hurt their business.