Almost every driver knows that one of the biggest dangers posed by large commercial trucks on the road is truckers who have been on the road for too long and are tired and distracted. The federal government has implemented hours-of-service regulations that limit how many hours a trucker can drive consecutively, how long their breaks must be and how long they are required to take off between shifts.
One issue that most people may not consider is that truck drivers aren’t always able to find a safe, designated area to park when they are required to take a break. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is trying to remedy that.
More funding is being sought from the DOT
Just last month the head of the OOIDA, Todd Spencer, publicly released a letter that he sent to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg asking that the Department of Transportation (DOT) use $1 billion from the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to expand truck parking access across the country.
The letter to Sec. Buttigieg noted that when truckers can’t find a truck parking area when they’re required to take a break, they may have to park on the shoulder of the road or even skip their break. Under HOS regulations, drivers are required to take a 30-minute non-driving break after driving for eight consecutive hours.
These options are unsafe for truck drivers and other motorists. Another option used by truckers – parking in vacant lots – can put drivers at risk of becoming crime victims.
Spencer also noted that truck drivers spend an average of nearly an hour of their designated driving time every day just looking for a parking space. This, as he explained, only further slows the delivery of goods and worsens the current supply chain issues. He also argued that the lack of safe parking can be tied to the number of experienced drivers leaving the industry – another safety issue for all motorists.
Truck drivers should certainly be given every reasonable opportunity to do their jobs safely. It benefits everyone. In a crash involving a truck and a smaller vehicle, those in the smaller vehicle typically fare the worst. If you or a loved one has been injured by an at-fault truck driver, it’s crucial to determine where the liability lies and to seek the compensation you need from the responsible parties.