Some truckers in Maryland will have to find an alternative place to park their rigs or risk being ticketed beginning July 1.
This comes after the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted on Tuesday, Jan. 27, to ban commercial vehicles, buses and recreational vehicles from certain public roadways.
County council member Michael Knapp proposed the bill in June 2008 after he said residents complained that having trucks parked in their neighborhoods was a “public safety issue.”
Mike Joyce, director of legislative affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said he wasn’t surprised by the council’s decision to ban trucks after attending a public hearing on this issue in Montgomery County in July 2008.
“I hate to say this, but this was a go from the beginning, considering this passed by an 8-0 margin,” he told Land Line Magazine on Wednesday, Jan. 28. “The council’s ‘not in my backyard mentality’ is unfortunate for all truckers who live there.”
He said the general public does not tend to appreciate the benefits that truckers provide to their local communities and economy, Joyce said.
Besides blocking sidelines for drivers and pedestrians, the council stated in its release that another reason for the ban was that oversized vehicles create safety issues “because predators can hide and be unseen in between the large vehicles.”
“We understand the issue has several sides, and we are not looking to ban these vehicles from our county,” Knapp wrote. “We were just looking for better options that work for everyone.”
Joyce said some truckers will still be able to park at their residences if their homeowners’ associations allow commercial trucks; however, most will be scrambling for a new place to park.
Knapp told Land Line back in July that he understands there are no truck stops in Montgomery County, which could be a problem for some trucks. While he said the council proposed alternative locations like underutilized parking lots along Interstate 270, the council has received pushback to using the lots for commercial trucks.
“In the case of commercial vehicles, we know we need the businesses associated with those vehicles,” Knapp said. “We just need to find an alternative place for them to park their vehicles overnight. They do not belong in residential neighborhoods.”
Joyce said this couldn’t come at a worse time when few truckers have extra cash on hand.
“Besides the countless challenges and regulations truckers experience just owning and operating a commercial vehicle, they also find out their communities don’t like the sight of their trucks,” he said.
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer