We have watched for a decade now government, safety groups, and media promoting a false premise that illegal truck parking is fatigue related. This sick political slogan has lead to non-enforcement of critical truck parking safety laws and allowed an excuse for American truck drivers to continue a deadly practice. If you pre-plan your trip you should have adequate parking areas available. Some Counties even set aside low-speed county roads for safe big rig parking. Many spaces in commercial parking areas remain vacant. If your receiver has a history of no off hour parking, it is your responsibility to locate low-speed roadways and to properly light flashers and place safety triangles. Receivers should be required by law to provide adequate safe parking to safely operate their businesses, we applaud those that operate responsibly for truck and car driver safety.
Safety groups that claim to represent victims have allowed the deaths of parking victims to continue for years while they pursued their hours of service safety agenda. They have attacked victims for promoting safe truck parking and triangle use as enforcing parking laws would promote fatigue. Saving these lives could have been accomplished at the same time they pursued their agenda. Politics and fund raising and disrespect of partial fault victims have lead to too many unnecessary deaths. They could have promoted low-speed parking locations and softened truck driver dislike of triangle use by promoting triangle use by car drivers. All drivers have a right to know an object is blocking the right of way. You could promote lane scan technology with alarms to fight fatigue that can occur even after two hours of driving. While it takes years to agree on hours of service laws you could save hundreds of lives at the same time you pursue that effort, to parking victims despair safety groups chose another course.
Simple efforts save lives. Pre-plan your trip to include at least two safe parking locations. Most commercial and company parking locations provide free parking that is safe and secure. Include these parking locations in your pre-trip plan and use them to save lives! A statement by the captain of the ATA America’s Road Team in the February 14, 2000, issue of Transport Topics further underscores the need for information and planning. He had been on a 2-week round-trip from Vermont to the West Coast and, because of his careful planning, was able to find parking each night. He said, “Less experienced drivers or drivers who work for carriers that put a lot of pressure on them [to reach their destination on time] tend to have trouble finding places to park.” (NTSB Special Investigation Report -Truck Parking Areas.)
Freeway ramps and shoulders: Stationary truck and trailer crashes present a greater risk of fatality due to the great speed differential of the moving and non-moving vehicle. A study in Virginia found 1 out of 2 shoulder parked crashes involved a fatality. There is an increased hazard from slow moving vehicles re-entering the traffic stream. Ramp parking creates a risk to motor vehicles accelerating or decelerating to or from freeway ramps. Current American rear underride guards are fatal above 25 mph, only park on low-speed roadways except in emergencies and always light lights and place safety triangles to increase safety.
“The Washington State Department of Transportation has stated, “Millions of dollars are spent each year to make highways safer and the roadside features more forgiving to errant drivers. Why, then, do we tolerate parked or abandoned vehicles to remain along our highways for extended periods of time? We have designed standards that require a ‘clear zone’ on limited access highways. Nothing can be placed in this zone without providing protection to the motorist in the form of a guardrail, barrier, crash cushions, or breakaway supports. Yet, we allow heavy vehicles to stand a few feet or even inches from the traveled lanes”
Stay out of the crash lane. Stop the unnecessary killing. Tell Congress to pass safe parking laws for all Interstate Highways. Tell the State Patrol to enforce parking laws and train drivers in safe parking practices including parking pre-trip planning. Support more rest areas and Counties in areas with insufficient truck parking to provide low-speed roadways for emergency parking. Support car drivers not driving fatigued and placing safety triangles. Support lane scan technology with alarms to fight fatigue. We can do a lot to save lives while we wait for hours of service laws, waiting and letting people die is no longer an option. Tell U.S. media to look past the propaganda and report the victims stories and save those that would be lost!
IIHS Underride Roundtable crash tested a new stiff underride guard at 35 mph in a 30% offset crash successfully. This would have been a good result in 1972, but not in 2016! Rear underride fatal crashes happen in a vast majority of cases on highways at highway speeds above 50 mph. These stiff guards are designed to kill at real world speeds and the Truck Safety Coalition even gave a company an award for installing killer guards. These guards will not save truck parking victims and they will kill any new regulation for rear underride guards as the industry wants stiff guards and a regulation that just legalizes stiff guards already on the roads and already killing trucking victims, year in and year out! Low-speed crash tests at 35 mph are a fraud on the public that fail to protect in crashes at real world crash speeds. We have had 50 mph energy absorbing guards since the early 1990’s, when we crash test at real world speeds above 50 mph we will get guards that protect the public at real world crash speeds above 50 mph!