Inadequate Parking Leads to Safety Issue
January 22, 2019
Insufficient parking for commercial trucks can become more than a mere nuisance for drowsy truck drivers. When a drowsy truck driver is unable to find a safe place to park and rest, serious tractor trailer accidents leading to catastrophic injuries can occur.
Lack of Parking for Truck Drivers
Commercial truck drivers are subject to federal regulations relating to the maximum number of hours a driver can operate their vehicle before taking mandatory rest breaks. Unfortunately, drivers traveling on interstates and other long stretches of highways are facing increasing difficulty in finding safe places to park their rigs to comply with these regulations. Zoning restrictions and lack of available space are two challenges facing trucking industry experts attempting to solve the nationwide inadequate truck parking problem.
Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has authorized a truck parking study to address some of these issues, including the need for an accelerated “SmartPark” deployment, commercial drivers need immediate assistance with the lack of appropriate truck parking throughout the country. Parking on the side of highway ramps, in vacant lots, or at other unauthorized locations can put drivers at risk for increased accidents and vulnerability to crime. A driver’s inability to obtain a safe parking spot where they can adequately rest is another significant safety risk.
Impact on Drowsy Driving
The most effective way for commercial truck drivers to avoid drowsy driving is to pull over and rest when needed. Federal regulations have been established to ensure drivers are getting the necessary sleep. Under current federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules, commercial drivers can only drive 11 hours in a 24 hour period with a mandatory 30 minute break. With lack of adequate commercial truck parking a continuing problem, drivers are forced to travel longer before being able to rest.
A recent study of a problematic southern highway system revealed over half of truck drivers traveling through that particular region spent over an hour finding adequate parking. For unprepared truck drivers, failing to secure a parking spot ahead in this area could result in a violation of the maximum driving hours requirement and drowsy driving.
Fatigue often plays a significant part in trucking accidents. Drowsy drivers are less able to pay attention to the road, have slower reaction times, and often have difficulty making good driving decisions. According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, over 72,000 motor vehicles accidents each year result from drowsy driving. In a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study, fatigue was listed as a “critical” factor in 13 percent of all commercial trucking accidents.
When drivers begin to yawn or blink frequently, miss exits or turns, drift from their lanes, cannot remember driving over a mile and cross rumble strips on the side of roads, they are experiencing the warning signs of drowsy driving. At this point, drowsy drivers are strongly encouraged to pull over and park in a safe spot to rest. Commercial truck drivers who are unable to find adequate parking face increased risks of drowsy driving. When drowsy driving causes an accident to occur, serious physical injuries including broken bones, internal bleeding, traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and paralysis may result.
Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Assist Clients Injured in Drowsy Driving Accidents
At Galfand Berger LLP, our attorneys help trucking accident victims obtain compensation for their injuries throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey including those in the Philadelphia, Reading, Bethlehem, Allentown, and Harrisburg areas. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia truck accident lawyer, call us at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online.