A new law in Arkansas that took effect the first of the month is intended to clarify that it is illegal to stop along the shoulders of interstates or controlled-access highways. Exceptions will be made for breakdowns or emergencies.
Previously, truckers and others could get away with parking along roadsides if there were no signs posted prohibiting it. The new law, previously HB2431, removes the loophole in state law and allows violators to be fined.
Supporters said banning the practice of pulling off along highways is intended to reduce wrecks. They cite several fatal accidents involving large trucks parked on shoulders.
Opponents said truckers are running out of options to pull off for rest. They cite increased truck traffic in the state that has made it harder to find parking at truck stops and rest areas.
Others point out that the state has closed three of its 24 rest areas since 1995. Officials with the Arkansas Highway Department said parking spaces at areas still open have increased by 23 percent since 2003.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Arkansas in 2007, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor