Where Do They All Go? Commercial Trucks Fill Pennsylvania’s Highways and Roads.
February 11th, 2019 by Wapner Newman
Traditional retail stores suffer, while online sellers do more business every day. All those packages going to customers need to get there somehow. Often a big part of the trip is fulfilled by semi-trucks criss-crossing the U.S. Pennsylvania is a huge state, with major highways connecting the northeastern part of the U.S. with the rest of the country. If fatigued drivers can’t rest because there’s not enough room to park, it’s not just a traffic problem … it’s a safety issue.
I-95 connects Maine to Florida and travels through the Philadelphia area. The Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-80 are major highways running east and west. Massive amounts of cargo travel on trucks every day on these highways.
PennDOT is asking private companies to make proposals to help cope with the problem, reports the Morning Call. Pennsylvania’s location in the Mid Atlantic, close to major cities on the East Coast, has turned it into a major warehousing and trucking hub. Not far away are more, massive warehouses in central and northern New Jersey and all the truck traffic that comes with them.
Pennsylvania hasn’t figured out how to host the logistics industry. A lack of truck parking creates safety risks and impacts traffic. Truck drivers must adhere to hours-of-service regulations.
After a truck driver is off duty for ten hours …
- The driver may drive for up to eleven hours within a 14-hour period of time;
- He or she must take a half-hour break before driving after eight consecutive hours; and
- The driver must stop driving after driving 60 or 70 on-duty hours in seven or eight days.
What should a driver do to comply with these rules if there’s no safe, legal place to park? For many, they park in places that aren’t safe or legal.
According to PennDOT, “Truck parking in Pennsylvania is lacking in available capacity, poorly located, or information about open spaces is unreliable. Shortfalls in parking capacity in heavily traveled corridors may exceed triple the amount of available parking spaces.…”
The state hasn’t looked at the problem in more than ten years, and there were problems back then. It was estimated that the state had 11,500 trucking parking spots and 13,000 trucks using them. Many of those spots were away from major highways where the need was greatest. The state concluded in 2007 that another 4,400 spots were needed. The problem is probably far worse now.
PennDOT is asking businesses to state the role government should play, how private companies can help and whether the state should offer incentives to private groups to address the parking shortage. The economics currently aren’t there to support acres of truck parking off of highways in highly congested areas with high real estate values.
Pennsylvania doesn’t need distracted drivers or fatigued drivers on its roads, fruitlessly looking for safe parking spaces. It’s a situation that serves no one and just makes our highways more dangerous.
Have you been injured in a truck accident caused by the negligence of another party? Talk to a knowledgeable lawyer at Wapner Newman in Philadelphia. Your initial consultation will be free.