OOIDA member Robert Edwards of Ozark, MO, knows firsthand about the dire parking problem facing truckers who travel the nation’s highways.
Edwards, a produce hauler, received a ticket last week and was placed out-of-service for being out of hours while he was looking for a place to park his rig.
“I was near the end of my day, finishing my final stop for the day,” Edwards said. “There were signs clearly saying no overnight parking on city streets, so I kept going.”
Instead, Edwards said he decided to “chance it” and drive until he found “suitable parking” for the next 10 hours.
He said he briefly parked his rig on a ramp where he saw that other truckers had parked previously, but decided to move on after a few minutes to find another spot to park because he just didn’t feel safe there.
“There was a lot of traffic on that ramp and I decided to find a place where I could feel more comfortable,” he said. “I remembered there was a truck stop about 15 minutes up the road, and I decided to head there.”
Edwards said that’s when he made a critical mistake. He forgot there was a scale between him and the truck stop. At the scale, his logbook was inspected and he was placed out-of-service.
“The rules are there to protect and to set a standard; I understand that,” he said. “It was my fault that I pushed my hours, but I feel it’s the nation’s responsibility to provide truckers with good parking.”
Edwards, a 14-year Navy veteran, said there are efforts under way to make veterans feel better about the sacrifices they have made for this country, but he said he feels the same recognition should be given to truck drivers.
“I was a veteran and I made sacrifices, but I am also a truck driver. I make many sacrifices, too,” he said. “I work six days a week, off for a day, then head back out again. There are many drivers out there like me who sacrifice time with their families to deliver the products this nation needs, but we aren’t appreciated.”
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer