I have been an activist for underride and truck parking victims issues for 30 years now and there is one story that has never been told! The ban on parking victims and their issues and why this has occurred. The simple fact is that truck drivers have always outnumbered victims, a million fatal and serious injury victims versus 5 million current and recent truck drivers. Millions of dollars in campaign donations versus zero from victims, support of large corporations against victim voices that rarely if ever get media coverage, commercial interests drive media coverage in the U.S. and public interest is a lost media skill!
We had the formation of truck driver fatigue safety groups founded by parked car crash survivors, their relatives were parked on high-speed roadways and thus any conversation to limit parking or question the safety of parking on high-speed roadways is verboten! It is always the fault of the vehicle crashing into the parked vehicle, never the parking of the vehicle. If there is a problem with trucks parking, it is the fault of the car drivers and the lack of free public paid parking. They would stop the killing if only they had free places to park (The driver that killed my wife had a company lot nearby with good fencing, free and secure parking 10 minutes away) and of course this removes all moral and legal liability of the truck driver, those dirty victims! These fatigue based groups have the funding and numbers (safety minded truck drivers primarily concerned with truck driver safety and working conditions) and a few victims. Truck drivers and a few trucking companies and fatigue lawyers have money and clout and so their issues, mostly fatigue and working conditions get virtually all of the media and government attention. Even the removal of the illegally parked truck is challenged as it will cause a fatigue crash if the poor truck driver is awakened by law enforcement! He had no choice and no blame, there was no nearby free parking!
I am sad to say victims have no voice except the lonely voices here at the Underride Network. Search for parking victims at the Truck Safety Coalition, http://annaleahmary.com, and IIHS or for truck parking safety not involving more free parking in the form of rest areas and you will be very disappointed. Do these same searches at NHTSA and FMCSA and you will also get zero results, parking victims and their issues and lost loved ones do not exist! They have zero safety recommendations on safer truck parking other than more free rest areas and signs showing where spaces are available. The linked safety groups get a big fat zero for their truck parking safety advocacy, it does not exist. CRASH in the past banned participation at parking summits of parking victims in favor of fatigue and driver safety advocates. CRASH removed this advocates online posts recommending truck drivers obey parking laws and threatened me with expulsion due to complaints from truck driver members, they instead posted recommendations that illegally parked trucks not be moved by law enforcement as it would cause fatigue crashes! The Underride Network was soon after forced to leave CRASH along with parking victims.
The choice to park and kill or maim is a choice, just like drunk driving or speeding. Safety groups, trucking associations, and even our government have removed blame or fault from these choices. They do not have parking safety pamphlets, web pages, posters, public training programs, or any safety recommendations and refuse to allow by anyone that parking victims even exist! It is even legal to voluntarily park on high-speed Interstates which underride guards on trucks can only prevent fatalities in speeds up to 30 mph. The ATA at one point at least had a poster stating that “Trucks are Targets on Shoulders” but that was a long time ago. We know that wide forgiving roadsides with all objects protected by crash cushions decrease crashes and fatalities but we must not move parked trucks as it will disturb the sleeping truck drivers. Dangerous and illegal truck parking are choices, choices that must be made prior to the driver leaving for a trip or route.
Pre-plan your parking choices, check parking availability, know the location of rest areas, plan your driving and rest hours, contact receivers and check their lot hours and parking availability, understand congestion hours and plan accordingly, know low-speed roadways that would be available for emergency parking if you cannot find a space, understand rear crashes become fatal at or above 30 mph, never park on high-speed roadways unless broken down, clean tape and reflectors as even invisible road film can reduce candle-power by 90%, and only park on low-speed roadways even if illegal as parking on high-speed roadways presents a severe hazard to the traveling public!
Changing arrival times with pre-trip planning would eliminate 3/4 of drivers looking for parking during the same evening hours, everybody arrives at the same time and wonder why spaces might be tight in high traffic corridors, truckers and companies claim we must provide free parking rather than a simple change to their schedules. Reserve a parking space, yes, we have apps for this! Use only “Receivers of Choice” or pressure your receiver to provide 24 hour parking or to open during load arrival hours. Use apps or the telephone to check on availability of spaces during your planned arrival hours.
Parked crash fatalities end when truck drivers and their companies make safety a pre-planned activity. Fatigue, lack of parking, must not be excuses any longer for dangerous truck parking as killing by parked truck is always a choice! Deaths continue as safety groups and governments refuse to allow that parking victims exist and refuse to make safe parking recommendations including pre-trip planning, the most essential safety activity! Prosecution for drivers that illegally park and kill and fail to render aid must begin! Illegal parking infractions must be counted, companies must demand drivers know parking law and always pre-plan trips. Parking safety training and pre-trip parking safety planning must be included in company safety manuals. Receivers must be required to provide adequate 24 hour parking!
Damn-it we parking victims do exist and we cry for our lost loved ones and pray for the killing to end! Safety groups no longer link to the Underride Network and have removed my late wife from their sites. Truth has garnered false public attacks! Truth is our last refuge!