Kentucky, Tennessee bills address truck parking

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/12/2014

State lawmakers in Kentucky and Tennessee are pursuing changes to rules on parking alongside roads and ramps.

The Kentucky House voted 67-29 to advance a bill that would double the fine for trucks found parked, stopped or standing on highways, shoulders or ramps. However, the change would permit truckers to pull off for a few minutes without being ticketed.

State law now prohibits any vehicle from being parked, stopped or standing on the shoulders of any toll road, interstate highway, or state maintained highway. Violators face fines between $20 and $100.

Sponsored by Rep. Tom McKee, D-Cynthiana, HB275 would permit vehicles to be pulled off roadways for up to 15 minutes. An exception to the time limit would be made for periods of inclement weather.

McKee added the time-limit rule to enable travelers to pull off to make phone calls or text.

Violators would face fines between $100 and $200.

Jamie Fiepke, president of the Kentucky Motor Transport Association, said he understands the attempt to improve safety on roadways, but he questions adding the 15-minute exemption.

“It all makes sense, but when you start putting that stuff in there you’re actually giving people more time to park and you’re reducing law enforcement’s ability to write tickets,” Fiepke told Land Line.

He said the real issue that isn’t addressed by the bill is the state’s lack of adequate truck parking options.

“We just don’t have enough truck parking in Kentucky. It’s a what-do-you-do situation. Where are trucks supposed to park?”

The Federal Highway Administration is expected to complete a truck parking survey later this year as directed in the current highway law. The provision on truck parking is known as “Jason’s Law.”

Fiepke said that Jason’s Law gives states room to add to their existing truck parking.

“We know we need it with two major highways coming through the state. We definitely need to look at it to see if we can fix the problem.”

The bill awaits further consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Across the state line in Tennessee, an effort is underway to permit large trucks to park along entrance ramps for a temporary period of time.

Sponsored by Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown, the bill would authorize truckers to stop, park or leave the vehicle on the shoulder of ramps along any highway for up to 12 hours.

The bill states that parking on ramps would be permitted as long as “it is not practicable to stop, park or so leave the vehicle off such part of the highway; the vehicle does not obstruct the passage of other motor vehicles; and the operator displays warning devices during the period of the stop.”

State troopers would determine the practicability of parking off the highway.

HB1997 is in the House Transportation Committee. The Senate version, SB2046, is in the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee.

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