Parking on Shoulders
Parking on controlled access or other roadways by CMV drivers can be a significant contributing factor to injury or fatal crashes. The main reason CMVS are parked on highway shoulders and other unsafe locations is mechanical breakdown. However, drivers are often in need of rest, particularly in the early morning hours, and may not know the locations of nearby rest areas or truck stops. Also, deliveries scheduled for early morning often cause a driver to park at the city limits or near the delivery point to wait for the delivery location to open.
Many crashes involve vehicles striking trucks parked on the shoulder. Studies indicate that CMVS were involved in the major portion of these crashes and that they occurred primarily between midnight and 6 a.m. Alcohol involvement or fatigue were the two main causes noted.
Officers and company management should be aware of the potential for serious crashes associated with CMVS parking on highway shoulders. Providing assistance for disabled vehicles and informing drivers of safe parking areas will contribute to a reduction of CMV crashes.
Most states and local jurisdictions prohibit parking on the shoulder for any reason other than emergency. Being lost or sleep is not considered an emergency since there are generally multiple alternatives to stopping on the shoulder. Never park on a shoulder unless it is an emergency or you are directed to by law enforcement officials.
If an emergency requires that you park on a shoulder of the highway, be sure to comply with FMCSR 392.22 and place your triangles behind the truck at the prescribed distances as soon after parking as possible, but in any event within 10 minutes. Keep in mind that many such emergencies can be identified and prevented by a good pre-trip inspection. Parking on shoulder related collisions are PREVENTABLE.