U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-15-2010, 04:31 AM
 
Location: Houston, Tx
3,644 posts, read 5,559,073 times
Reputation: 1616

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles View Post
Yes, this is true, and if it (falling asleep while driving) was happening, then this really would be an emergency.
First of all, it does happen. Truckers do fall asleep from time to time. Maybe the reason it doesn't happen as much as you think it might is BECAUSE they are taking short naps on the side of the road. How many extra deaths a year would you consider acceptable if your no-sleeping on the side of the road policy went in to effect?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-15-2010, 05:42 AM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,451 posts, read 8,150,992 times
Reputation: 2346
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles View Post
I once heard a phrase "Poor Planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part."

In California (other states too?), signs are posted on the wider shoulders of freeways which read "Emergency Parking Only". On these shoulders truckers regularly pull over and appear parked, usually in the evening. Most of the time there are several trucks there. The engines don't appear to be running and the trucks have what look like parking lights illuminated.

I can't prove they are spending hours there sleeping but - they are spending hours there sleeping.

The California Highway Patrol was asked "Why do you permit these trucks to park in the emergency shoulder?". They twisted the response to "If they fall asleep that is a road danger so they need to sleep". In other words, they didn't answer the question.

What message does it send the public when the CHP apparently allows trucks to park illegally on the shoulders instead of insisting the truckers park legally on streets?

LOS ANGELES INJURY LAWYER WINS WRONGFUL DEATH AUTO ACCIDENT CASE: AUTO CRASHES INTO A BIG RIG TRACTOR-TRAILER TRUCK ILLEGALLY PARKED ON THE SHOULDER OF THE FREEWAY- $7 MILLION VERDICT :: Los Angeles Injury Lawyer Blog

The trucks stop here; Truckers say federal rules snag them in a | Sun, The; San Bernardino, Calif. Newspaper | Find Articles at BNET
A few comments:

1) In general, there are not enough truck parking areas in the U.S. (which I define as being public rest areas, though private truck stops count too). Some states, like New Jersey for example, in particular have a massive shortage. The shortage of truck parking forces drivers to park in non-truck parking areas, like highway shoulders, interchange ramps, and store parking lots near interchanges.

2) Most (or even all) drivers would prefer to park in rest areas or truck stops, but sometimes they don't have a choice because those rest areas/truck stops aren't located in the areas where they need to stop (see #5 below).

3) Many communities or businesses have laws on their books that prohibit truck parking in retail business parking lots or in off-street areas that are out of the way of traffic flows. This reduces truck driver options and makes it more likely they will have to park on interstate shoulders.

4) Even in cases where overnight parking in a retail business parking lot is acceptable, many long-haul truck drivers aren't familiar with the areas off the highway in the places where they need to park. They want to ensure they can find a spot easily and have easy on-off access to the highway. This lack of knowledge leads drivers to park along the highway, where they won't get lost or confused.

5) Truck drivers are subject to what are called Hours of Service (HOS) rules. These HOS rules only allow drivers to drive a certain number of hours in a day (I believe it is currently 11 hours) and allow them to be "on the clock" for a certain number of hours per day. Truck drivers are required to keep a log of their work hours to make sure they don't violate HOS rules. When a driver is close to going out-of-service, he needs to stop, regardless where he is. With larger trucking companies/operators, dispatchers back at a distribution center or someplace similar are in periodic contact with drivers and will help identify a good stopping location for the night. Smaller companies may not have that ability, and for some delivery routes there aren't any good stopping locations, so the drivers need to make due.

6) With many deliveries, truck drivers are trying to position themselves outside a metropolitan area (especially large metropolitan areas like New York) such that they can beat the regular traffic into the congested AM rush areas. They do this so they can maximize the efficiency of their delivery/pick-up schedules for that day. The more they get caught in traffic, the slower they can go and the fewer deliveries/pick-ups they can make in that day. That's bad for the drivers (who are often paid on a per-mile basis), the trucking companies (who may lose business from their customers if they cannot make timely deliveries/pick-ups), and the customers/shippers (who may need to have their products delivered/picked-up on a very specific schedule). To best position themselves for the initial deliveries/pick-ups of the day, drivers will often park in areas that are relatively close to the city of delivery/pick-up, and if insufficient truck parking exists, they'll park on shoulders.

It should be further noted that it is the customers, not the trucking companies, that dictate delivery and pick-up schedules. A truck driver can not make a delivery or pick-up if the customer is closed at the time the driver arrives. For stores that aren't open overnight (or don't have employees available to take/give an overnight delivery or pick-up), that means the drivers can't make their deliveries/pick-ups at that time, and because, as was noted in #3, many communities have regulations against overnight truck parking, those trucks cannot position themselves too close to the city.

7) In some cases where a driver has driven a particular route many times and is familiar with the available rest areas, especially the private truck stops, a driver may consciously decide to park on the highway shoulder rather than a private rest area to avoid some of the unsavory activities (like prostitution) that take place at the rest area.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2010, 05:52 AM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,451 posts, read 8,150,992 times
Reputation: 2346
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles View Post
You can't plan for a traffic job, but daily traffic (rush hour for example) is predictable. Other causes of traffic (accidents, road construction) are not predictable. However, what are we talking? Five percent impact? OK, so it won't be easy every day, on every route for every trucker. But for 95% or more of them, planning their routes to provide legal rest areas is not a huge inconvenience or expense. It should be part of a responsible trucker's job. I can't imagine it would take more than 15 minutes of planning per daily trip with an additional ten minutes for contingency (traffic, weather, etc) planning. Does this sound that unreasonable?
I believe non-recurring congestion accounts for 40% of all highway congestion, with the percentage bumped up to 50% if you include work zone-related congestion.

As for your second point, trucking companies are trying to maximize their ability to make pickups and deliveries. They don't have the kind of lag time to work with that you are implying. A less efficient trucking company is a company that will go out of business, either because of an inability to meet the customers' schedules or (even more likely) an ability to charge rates that cover their transportation costs and make them profitable. Additionally, when a truck driver is driving 500-600 miles per day, there are so many variables that impact where that driver will be at the end of his shift that is practically impossible to know exactly where he'll be by the time his shift ends (and 10 minutes is nowhere near a long enough contingency window on many days). The level of precision for positioning trucks in the manner you are suggesting just isn't possible most of the time.

Last edited by CHIP72; 05-15-2010 at 06:03 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2010, 06:39 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,346 posts, read 82,968,211 times
Reputation: 17508
My comments in "Read it again" red.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kodaka View Post

If it bothers OP soooo much that trucks are stopped on the shoulder of the freeway, where would it bother him less for them to be?

First of all, it doesn't bother me sooo much, the original post simply asks
"What message does it send the public when the CHP apparently allows trucks to park illegally on the shoulders instead of insisting the truckers park legally on streets?"

Obviously any parking lot is going to be private property and thus off limits. So that only leaves the shoulder of narrower roads. Is that better??? Most people wouldn't think so but perhaps in OP's twisted mind it is.

Yes, of course it is better (safer). Why do you suppose those shoulders are marked "Emergency Parking Only"? Exiting from and entering to a slower speed, less traveled, narrow road (that also has suitable shoulders to legally park on) would be much safer than entering and exiting a high speed freeway.

all sorts of stupid assumptions like OP's
in OP's twisted mind

Are the questions in the original post and the subsequent responses so unreasonable that they deserve disparaging comments?


In any case its extremely unlikely that these trucks are actually staying on the shoulder of the freeway overnight or while they sleep. Sleeping in a truck is already hard enough without having to deal with the noise and motion of passing traffic. They are probably just stopping to wait for instructions from dispatch, or for a berth to open up at the distribution center, or they are eating lunch, or talking to their spouse on the phone.


Wrong again. There is no doubt the truckers are parked on the freeway in the "Emergency Parking Only" shoulders to meet the minimum rest requirements. That's the whole premise of the thread and every response is this thread is focused on the argument of sleep versus driving risk.


Interesting that out of 62 posts on this thread, yours is the only one that suggests the truckers are there to do something other than sleep; this is completely inconsistent with the truckers' drive to make as much headway in their limited driving day - they don't have time to waste chatting on the sides of freeways.

Last edited by Charles; 05-15-2010 at 06:49 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2010, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,346 posts, read 82,968,211 times
Reputation: 17508
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHIP72 View Post
A few comments:

1) In general, there are not enough truck parking areas in the U.S. (which I define as being public rest areas, though private truck stops count too). Some states, like New Jersey for example, in particular have a massive shortage. The shortage of truck parking forces drivers to park in non-truck parking areas, like highway shoulders, interchange ramps, and store parking lots near interchanges.

2) Most (or even all) drivers would prefer to park in rest areas or truck stops, but sometimes they don't have a choice because those rest areas/truck stops aren't located in the areas where they need to stop (see #5 below).

3) Many communities or businesses have laws on their books that prohibit truck parking in retail business parking lots or in off-street areas that are out of the way of traffic flows. This reduces truck driver options and makes it more likely they will have to park on interstate shoulders.

4) Even in cases where overnight parking in a retail business parking lot is acceptable, many long-haul truck drivers aren't familiar with the areas off the highway in the places where they need to park. They want to ensure they can find a spot easily and have easy on-off access to the highway. This lack of knowledge leads drivers to park along the highway, where they won't get lost or confused.

5) Truck drivers are subject to what are called Hours of Service (HOS) rules. These HOS rules only allow drivers to drive a certain number of hours in a day (I believe it is currently 11 hours) and allow them to be "on the clock" for a certain number of hours per day. Truck drivers are required to keep a log of their work hours to make sure they don't violate HOS rules. When a driver is close to going out-of-service, he needs to stop, regardless where he is. With larger trucking companies/operators, dispatchers back at a distribution center or someplace similar are in periodic contact with drivers and will help identify a good stopping location for the night. Smaller companies may not have that ability, and for some delivery routes there aren't any good stopping locations, so the drivers need to make due.

6) With many deliveries, truck drivers are trying to position themselves outside a metropolitan area (especially large metropolitan areas like New York) such that they can beat the regular traffic into the congested AM rush areas. They do this so they can maximize the efficiency of their delivery/pick-up schedules for that day. The more they get caught in traffic, the slower they can go and the fewer deliveries/pick-ups they can make in that day. That's bad for the drivers (who are often paid on a per-mile basis), the trucking companies (who may lose business from their customers if they cannot make timely deliveries/pick-ups), and the customers/shippers (who may need to have their products delivered/picked-up on a very specific schedule). To best position themselves for the initial deliveries/pick-ups of the day, drivers will often park in areas that are relatively close to the city of delivery/pick-up, and if insufficient truck parking exists, they'll park on shoulders.

It should be further noted that it is the customers, not the trucking companies, that dictate delivery and pick-up schedules. A truck driver can not make a delivery or pick-up if the customer is closed at the time the driver arrives. For stores that aren't open overnight (or don't have employees available to take/give an overnight delivery or pick-up), that means the drivers can't make their deliveries/pick-ups at that time, and because, as was noted in #3, many communities have regulations against overnight truck parking, those trucks cannot position themselves too close to the city.

7) In some cases where a driver has driven a particular route many times and is familiar with the available rest areas, especially the private truck stops, a driver may consciously decide to park on the highway shoulder rather than a private rest area to avoid some of the unsavory activities (like prostitution) that take place at the rest area.
These are all pretty much true but they really are not addressing the original post. No one is arguing truckers should drive while tired and no one is arguing that sleeping on the sides of freeways is less convenient than finding a legal place to park. The original post relates to law enforcement picking and choosing which laws to enforce and the message it sends to the general public.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2010, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,451 posts, read 8,150,992 times
Reputation: 2346
I think all of the answers you've received in this thread have answered your question - many, if not most people are not bothered that much by the discrepancy you describe, at least when it comes to trucks parking on highway shoulders.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2010, 08:33 AM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,324,963 times
Reputation: 13682
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHIP72 View Post
I think all of the answers you've received in this thread have answered your question - many, if not most people are not bothered that much by the discrepancy you describe, at least when it comes to trucks parking on highway shoulders.

Correct

Having driven quite a lot including seven times from NY to AZ - one of them in a 16' truck - I cannot think of one occasion where I found it to be a problem.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-15-2010, 12:01 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,449,524 times
Reputation: 8158
regarding sleep-----

A friend of mine was up from 5am to 10pm driving semi and making dekiveries.

When he called back at 10 pm ( as ordered) to verify a freight pick up 200 miles away he was ordered to get a " good nights sleep" and take off at 3am for the destination.

Hmmmm------up and at work at 6am, told to get a " good nights sleep" at 10pm, told to take off at 3am.

Yup, welcome to the " real world" of trucking.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-18-2010, 06:34 AM
 
Location: Frankfort, IN
111 posts, read 399,212 times
Reputation: 52
The OP really needs to define emergency. Truckers work especially long hours (even the ones that stay within the law put in long hours) so even if a trucker just stops to get the required rest, it could still be an emergency. The OP has stated several instances that are out of the scope of this thread because they are real emergencies while others are just poor planning.

The OP has also stated that if you doze off on a regular basis while driving, it's either poor planning on your part or a medical condition. That is not the case though. I don't have a medical condition that makes me more tired than the average person. I work 3rd shift and have done so for close to 12 years now. No matter how well I sleep or when I wake up, I'll doze off for a few seconds at a time at least 2 days a week on the way home from work. For instance, just this very morning, I found myself nodding off on the way home. This was after going to bed at noon yesterday and waking up at 9 to start getting ready for work. I'm not sure what time I fell asleep, but I know I wasn't in bed for long before falling asleep. Does this sound like poor planning on my part?

You've also stated that it would be better for a trucker to pull off onto a state highway or other road to sleep. I can't speak for all states, but here in Indiana, most of the state highways have small shoulders. Small enough that even my car (a 2005 Ford Taures SE) sticks out into the road a couple inches so I know a semi would also stick out. How is this safer for anybody?

I can't provide documentation of this (I probably could if I looked hard enough, but you can also find the same thing by looking so why should I?), but I was told this by a cop. I was riding in my sister's car around the campus of Purdue University, where she is a student. She has a parking permit and we got in a parking garage and every place was taken so we pull out into the regular lot across the street and it was also full, including one car that didn't have a parking permit despite the face that it was posted that the lot was for vehicles with a parking permit only between the hours of 7:00 am-5:00 pm. Now this is between say 11am and 12:30pm. Can't remember the exact time, but I know we picked up lunch after we get what she needed to get. Anyway, we come across a cop and ask him about the car in the lot without a parking permit. Well we didn't see it at the time (well I didn't, but she may have), but the cop told me there was a person sitting in it so there wasn't anything he could do because the car wasn't actually parked.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-18-2010, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,346 posts, read 82,968,211 times
Reputation: 17508
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdlee3 View Post

if you doze off on a regular basis while driving, it's either poor planning on your part or a medical condition.

That is not the case though.

I don't have a medical condition that makes me more tired than the average person.

I work 3rd shift and have done so for close to 12 years now. No matter how well I sleep or when I wake up, I'll doze off for a few seconds at a time at least 2 days a week on the way home from work. For instance, just this very morning, I found myself nodding off on the way home. This was after going to bed at noon yesterday and waking up at 9 to start getting ready for work.
I don't know why you are nodding off after you've had nine hours of sleep in the past 24 hours. Most people don't do that. (I also don't know if you don't have a medical condition either.) However, I've heard that some people never quite get used to working 3rd shift and despite your success at sleeping nine hours in the past 24, your body may never get into a healthy sleep rhythm.

Most of my rationale and explanations are generalizations. There are always going to be exceptions, like in the situation you describe above. Still, your case is probably in the 1% or lower category.

I don't think the DOT feels it is safe to allow people to spontaneously pull over on the sides of freeways every time they feel tired. It's a trade off. The DOT probably feels for those rare situations where it isn't poor planning and where it isn't a medical condition, that motorists should pull off the freeway and find a safe and legal place to park.

Do you feel your situation is an emergency? Should you have pulled over to the Emergency Parking Only to sleep? Would you feel comfortable explaining that to a Highway Patrol Officer? Do you think a safer alternative would be to pull off the freeway and find a place to sleep? Do you think it is safe for truckers who don't have a medical condition and who did plan properly to doze for a few seconds off while driving on a regular basis?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top