Maryland State Police say commercial truck drivers should plan in advance where they want to park when they need a break — and not park on the shoulder of Interstate 83. Good luck, says the head of the Maryland Motor Truck Association.
The police say there’s been an increase in tractor-trailers parked on the side of the highway between Interstate 695 in Towson and the Pennsylvania state line. Police say the parked trucks lead to “extremely dangerous conditions.”
Starting Friday, Sept. 7, police are implementing a zero-tolerance policy and will issue $60 tickets to truck drivers who park on the shoulder.
“State police are correct that parking on the shoulder of I-83 is significant, but what they overlook is that there aren’t sufficient spaces available for the trucking industry, not just on I-83, but the entire state,” Louis Campion, MMTA president told The Trucker.There is not a single truck stop along I-83 in Maryland, which runs from Baltimore to Harrisburg, Pa.
For the Maryland State Police to take the position that drivers needs need to adequately plan routes to make sure they can stop at a parking facility represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what these drivers face every day — weather, congestion, available hours to drive — without providing them with adequate parking,” Campion said. “What other option do they have? Drive tired? No one wants to see them to do that.”
Campion noted that a truck partnership study conducted in 2006 clearly identified no truck parking on I-83 as an issue and recommended two overarching strategies —public-private partnerships and local problem solving.
Six years later a major parking program remains, he said, but did note that a federal grant had been awarded to help add over 20 spaces at a welcome center on I-95 south of Baltimore.
Campion said police can only give truckers found parked on an I-83 shoulder the $60 citation.
Truckers can’t be forced to move because most stop only because they are out of hours.
Truck drivers are urged to stop at rest areas, welcome centers or weigh stations.
The state police said electronic highway signs will also be used to remind drivers about the increased enforcement.
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