You know the drill – you have been driving for ten hours, and it is time to find a place to park. Perhaps the Electronic Nanny voice has already snippily informed you, “You have 1 hours and zero minutes driving time.”
If you are lucky, it is not yet six p.m, and you are on a major highway near some big truck stops. You might just win the parking lottery tonight.
Or perhaps you have been driving all night and can snag a parking spot that a daytime driver is leaving.
The bad place to find yourself in is when your load pickup was at 7 p.m, took three hours to load, and you are almost out of hours in the middle of Podunk, Arkansas. All the truck stops nearby are full of snoring drivers, and the shipper won’t let you stay on their lot for your ten hour break.
Maybe there is a rest area nearby. Almost always you will find trucks parked at the entrance and exit ramps to rest areas, and sometimes spilling over into the car parking spaces. However, several states are closing their rest areas, leaving drivers with even less places to park.
Even worse is having to park on an exit or entrance ramp to a freeway, sometimes right under the no parking sign. Some states post prominent signs stating that it is illegal to park on exit or entrance ramps. What is a law enforcement official to do when faced with a tired driver who is out of hours but parked illegally on an exit ramp?
The case of Jason Rivenburg, a driver who was killed in 2009 when he was forced by lack of safe parking to stop in an abandoned parking lot with no security, is now well known. His widow and the mother of his three young children, pressed lawmakers to pass Jason’s Law in March of 2012. This law requires states to study ways to improve safe truck parking including:
- Construct public parking facilities next to commercial truck stops and travel plazas;
- Use existing facilities for truck parking, including inspection and weigh stations as well as park-and-ride facilities;
- Construct turnouts along the National Highway System;
- Promote the availability of publicly and privately owned parking;
- Make capital improvements to public truck parking facilities currently closed on a seasonal basis.
I have been attempting, so far without success, to find out the current status of truck parking. Anyone with any up-to-date info, please let me know. One driver told me that Jason’s Law was passed with a lot of fanfare but was then quietly defunded. I am working to verify the truth of that.
One thing I know for sure – I still have trouble finding safe parking. As we drivers bring everything for the consumers, it sure would be nice if they would let us park and sleep safely. Some communities are passing ordinances prohibiting the parking of tractor-trailers within their city limits.
Make your voice heard in your community for safe parking.
Tags: Jason's Law