Missouri Illegally Parked CMV Attorneys

Missouri Truck Crash AttorneyThe American Transportation Research Institute released a report in December 2016 about a problem in the commercial trucking industry: the lack of safe, legal parking areas.

The lack of truck parking isn’t just an inconvenience, it’s a safety issue. When truck drivers reach their maximum legal drive-time hours, they need to be able to rest. But if they can’t find a place to stop, they may be driving while overly tired, in search of parking. Or they may park on the shoulder of the highway, which could raise crash risks for other motorists.

In 2015, about 80 miles south of St. Louis, a Perryville woman crashed into a semi that was parked on the shoulder of an Interstate 55 exit ramp and died at the scene. The driver of the semi was resting in the sleeper berth at the time of the crash.

If you’ve suffered an injury due to a crash with an illegally parked commercial truck, call Columbia truck accident attorneys Bley & Evans to ask for a free case consultation: 1-844-443-8385.

Dangers for Truckers

The absence of safe parking can put truckers in dangerous situations. While resting at an abandoned gas station in 2009, trucker Jason Rivenburg was murdered. His widow campaigned for legislation that would require governments to prioritize funding for truck parking and for improving the safety of existing truck parking. Congress enacted that legislation, known as Jason’s Law, in 2012. But according to the ATRI’s December report, progress has been extremely slow in developing new or expanded truck areas.

To collect information for its parking report, the ATRI sent parking diaries to 325 truckers; 148 truckers completed and returned the diaries.

Drivers reported several challenges in finding parking, and cited the following problems:

  • Rest areas – Many state governments have been closing traditional rest areas in order to save money, which means truckers have fewer places to park. Rest areas still in operation often limit how long vehicles can be parked, so even when truckers find a rest area, they may be unable to get the rest they need, or the rest that’s legally required, under hours-of-service laws.
  • Shipper/receiver policies – About 17 percent of drivers surveyed said shipper/ receiver policies that forbid truckers from parking on their property outside of delivery time contributed to hours-of-service problems.
  • Conflicting rules – 36.5 percent of drivers said they park in an unauthorized/undesignated location three to four times per week. These drivers often find themselves choosing between parking illegally and breaking the law by exceeding their hours of service. One driver said, “I personally refuse to park on ramps or road shoulders. I will go over hours first.” About 7 percent of drivers said they have received traffic tickets for parking on a highway shoulder or entrance ramp shoulder.
  • Fees – Some truck plazas allow drivers to make advance reservations for parking after 4 p.m., for a fee. That reservation system is a money-maker for travel plaza owners, but it’s also supposed to help truckers, who – if they have a reservation – know they’ll have a place to rest. One driver said that many of the truck parking spaces at travel plazas are vacant overnight. Independent drivers, or drivers for companies that don’t cover parking fees, may find the fees excessive, which could explain why many of those spots aren’t being used.

The Scope of the Problem

TruckerPath is a mobile app that helps truckers find available parking. In May 2017, FleetOwner Magazine reported that according to TruckerPath’s CEO, an analysis of 5.5 million data points and a survey of 3,300 TruckerPath users found that it’s almost impossible for drivers to find evening parking in less than 45 minutes.

TruckerPath found:

  • Drivers lose about 11 hours each month, searching for parking.
  • About 79 percent of drivers have violated hours-of-service rules in order to find parking.
  • 74 percent of drivers said they park on road shoulders, if no rest area or truck stop parking is available.
  • 19 percent of drivers who had to park in unauthorized areas (such as parking lots without security or lighting) said their personal belongings were stolen while they were parked.

An Unfortunate Situation

Truckers often face the dilemma of parking illegally, or exceeding legally allowed driving hours, in order to find parking. That difficult situation isn’t their fault. Still, if their illegal parking causes a crash that injures another party, the injury victim needs some way to pursue justice.

If you’ve been injured in a crash with an illegally parked truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Bley & Evans, online, or at 1-844-443-8385, to ask for a free, no-obligation consultation.