As one of the primary means of transport for goods in this country, it
seems the road is always packed with tractor-trailers. No matter what
time of day you find yourself behind the wheel, chances are high that
you will share the road with several large trucks. And they can be intimidating
– drifting out of their lane, losing tire tread, barreling down
on cars. But have you ever considered that they are also a danger when
they are sitting still?
A lack of available parking combined with restrictions on how long a truck
driver is allowed to be behind the wheel leaves many such drivers to feel
they have no option other than to park in undesignated or unauthorized
spaces. This illegal parking on the side of the road presents a serious
hazard for the rest of the motoring public.
an 18-wheeler parked on the shoulder of an I-95 onramp in Western Palm City was struck by a car, killing the passenger. The truck driver had stopped
to check his tires, leaving three feet of the left side of the truck protruding
onto the onramp. Just two months prior, a South Florida TV station monitored
about 20 miles of I-95 between Riviera Beach and Del Rey Beach to gauge
how often tractor-trailer drivers were wrongfully using highway shoulders
for rest stops. That investigation found many truckers had “precariously
pulled off the interstate, posing a grave danger to drivers,” parking
illegally without properly displaying traffic cones, signs, or hazard lights.
You might think the solution is simple: truckers should just keep driving
until they find a safe, legal place to park that's not already full.
Turns out, it's not that easy, because truck drivers aren't free
to drive as long as they like. After a certain number of hours, they are
contractually and legally required to stop. There is also a shortage of
available truck parking lots, a problem with non-commercial motor vehicles
taking designated truck parking spots, and time limitations on parking
in public rest areas. In fact,
a recent poll suggests that drivers feel like they are being forced to
park in undesignated or unauthorized areas:
- 9.5 percent say they have to park illegally every day
- 12.2 percent say they have to park illegally 5 to 7 times each week
- 36.5 percent say they have to park illegally 3 to 4 times each week
- 25.7 percent say they have to park illegally 1 to 2 times each week
- 5.4 percent say they have to park illegally twice a month
- Only 10.8 percent say they never have to park illegally.
Here in the Sunshine State, the
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) conducted a study with Florida
International University to assess the parking situation. They discovered that there is indeed an imbalance between the number
of trucks on the road and truck parking capacity, with some locations
overflowing while others are underutilized. To help address the situation,
FDOT is installing a Truck Parking Availability System (TPAS) along I-4,
I-10, I-75 and I-95 at locations such as welcome centers, weigh stations,
and rest areas. The idea is that drivers can find real-time information
about the availability of commercial vehicle parking along their route.
The hope is that with time and further development, the system will also
be able to predict lot availability.
Although TPAS is a step in the right direction, inadequate truck parking
is one of truck drivers' and carriers' top concerns. The American
Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) ranked this issue as the 4th
most prevalent trucking industry issue. Until more solutions are found
to this continuing problem, drivers will continue to park illegally –
making even the edges of the road a dangerous place to be.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident,
you need an experienced attorney to effectively represent your interests.
At Stabinski & Funt, P.A., we have successfully represented victims
throughout Florida who have been seriously hurt by negligent drivers.
We have also assisted families who have lost loved ones in traffic accidents.
For over 45 years, we have been helping injured motorists, passengers,
pedestrians, and cyclists put their lives back on track and we are ready
to help you. For advice on how to proceed next, or if you have any questions
about this topic, call 305-964-8644 or
fill out a free case evaluation form.