Truck stop quandary: Four-hour parking limit in Virginia county

| 7/3/2008

OOIDA member Dennis Sullivan was minutes away from being out of hours on Monday, June 30, when he pulled in to get his scale ticket at the Pilot Travel Center in New Kent, VA.

His plan was to stop and take his 10-hour break at the truck stop before heading back home to Marquand, MO, for the July Fourth holiday weekend. However, he said a sign he saw posted at the truck stop stopped him in his tracks.

“There were signs posted everywhere that said there was a four-hour maximum on parking because of a county ordinance that limits the number of hours trucks can park there,” Sullivan told Land Line on Wednesday, July 2.

“I couldn’t believe it because here I am, literally out of hours and needing to take my 10-hour break, and the next truck stop is more than 60 miles away from here. To get to the next truck stop, I would have to cross a scale out of hours.”

Sullivan said he immediately went in to talk to a manager about his dilemma. The truck stop staffer told him: “I have to post the ordinance, that doesn’t mean I have to enforce it.”

While truck parking in Virginia is at a premium, Sullivan said the manager told him the New Kent County Planning Commission blocked the truck stop’s attempt to expand the number of truck parking spaces. The truck stop operators want to add 30 spots to the 30 they currently have.

“This truck stop is really a cluster configuration, I am telling you,” he said. “It’s the only truck stop between Richmond and Norfolk, so you can bet it’s crowded, and by 2 p.m. they are already full.”

Sullivan said once he gets back home he plans to write a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Virginia Board of Transportation Safety about the four-hour maximum truck parking ordinance in New Kent.

“This deeply offends me that counties like New Kent want my business, but want to limit how long I can stay parked there,” he said.

“They don’t seem to understand what truckers are up against as far as complying with federal hours-of-service regs. If I leave there and drive and I am in an accident and hurt someone because I am tired, do you think that county is going to accept the liability? I don’t think so.”

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer