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1/31/2012
Push for LCVs begs the question: Where are they going to park ‘em?
By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer

The renewed push by big trucking and shipper groups for longer combination vehicles – or LCVs – has OOIDA leaders questioning where they are all going to park.

OOIDA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz said that if Congress passes federal legislation allowing more states to have LCVs, few states have adequate truck parking spaces to accommodate trucks longer than 80 feet.

“Nationally, few rest areas or truck stops have been constructed to accommodate longer combination vehicles such as triple trailers,” Rajkovacz said. “If states respond to an increase by simply carving up existing parking spaces to accommodate longer trucks, it will make the truck parking shortage even worse.”

Proponents for more LCVs haven’t even considered where they are going to park, just that more freight is going to be shipped using fewer trucks. Reconfiguring these rest areas to accommodate longer vehicles would be a financial burden few states can afford right now.

“States will likely have to spend scarce funding creating parking spaces for larger combination vehicles at existing rest area sites,” Rajkovacz said.

OOIDA Senior Member Tim Philmon of Middleburg, FL, told Land Line recently that big trucking’s push for longer combination vehicles all boils down to the strategy to “ship more for less.”

However, he said proponents for longer combination vehicles have failed to take the driver’s safety into consideration. They will be forced to find any available space to pull in and park because most places can’t accommodate them.

Besides the truck parking problem, Philmon said there is also the logistics nightmare at older shippers’ and receivers’ facilities to consider.

“I go into these older facilities, designed back in the 1950s, and I think, ‘man, the last thing they were thinking about when they built this is about how drivers are going to back in and out of here,’” Philmon said. “I have had to blindside back into places like this, not even configured for current trailer lengths, and they want to increase it again.”

Another longtime trucker, Curtis Mease of Lancaster, PA, agrees with Philmon.

“I started driving 20 years ago and quickly found that customers I delivered to were often in warehouses that had been designed for use by straight trucks or 40 foot trailers,” Mease said. “I was amazed at the limited maneuvering space available at many places, especially in the Northeast.”

He added that if shippers, carriers and brokers want to ship a trainload of stuff, “they should use the railroad.”

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