he US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration recently surveyed state departments of transportation concerning the lack of truck parking capacity. The survey results indicate that at least 37 states have a shortage of official parking for tractor-trailers. In addition, where there is official parking, it is overcrowded. According to the survey, states also report parking shortages in public rest areas, private truck stops, highway weigh stations, commercial areas, and designated pullout areas.
The parking shortage has resulted, according to the survey results, in truck drivers using unofficial parking locations such as freeway interchange ramps, freeway shoulders, conventional highway roadsides, and on local streets. The report concludes that "truck parking shortages are a national safety concern." Not only are trucks being parked in locations putting truck and public drivers and passengers at risk but truck drivers may also choose to continue driving in search of a safe, legal parking area before taking needed rest. This behavior risks allowing fatigued drivers to continue driving.
In Kentucky, KRS 189.450(3) restricts the parking of commercial motor vehicles in certain locations. The statute states that no vehicle may be parked, stopped, or allowed to stand on the shoulders of any toll road, interstate highway, or fully controlled access highway (including ramps). In addition, vehicles registered with a gross weight of over 44,000 pounds are prohibited from parking, stopping, or standing on the shoulders of state highways as well. Exceptions are made in case of emergency or in response to a peace officer's signal. Violators of KRS 189.450 face fines of between $20 and $100 and also could be faced with a per se negligence finding in a civil action pursuant to KRS 446.070.
House Bill 170 was introduced but failed to pass the Senate during the 2015 Kentucky legislative session. The bill would have amended KRS 189.450 to allow a vehicle to pull off a roadway for up to 15 minutes and would also allow for inclement weather as an additional exception to the rule. The overall intent of the bill was to raise awareness to truck drivers that parking alongside ramps and roads in Kentucky is illegal.
Despite the existing Kentucky statute making it illegal to park on the shoulders and ramps of Kentucky highways, the lack of truck parking available in states, including Kentucky, has created a legitimate public safety issue for truck drivers and motorists. The Federal Highway Administration has pledged to continue the discussion of these issues and encourage the incorporation of truck parking issues into relevant state transportation planning.
For more information about the Jason's Law Truck Parking Survey Results, see http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/.
For more information about Kentucky House Bill 170, see http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/15RS/HB170.htm and http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=28486#.VfnN4dJvhBc.