Concern about trucks parking alongside roads and ramps in Kentucky is getting attention at the statehouse.
The House Transportation Committee voted on Tuesday, Feb. 10, to advance a bill that covers concerns about trucks that are parked, stopped or standing on highways, shoulders or ramps. One change would permit truckers to pull off for a few minutes without being in violation of state law.
Kentucky 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, the bill would permit vehicles to be pulled off roadways for up to 15 minutes. The time-limit rule is intended to enable travelers to pull off to make phone calls or texts.
Exceptions to the time limit would be made for emergencies, when pulled over for law enforcement, or for periods of inclement weather.
The bill is named for Todd McCall. The 22-year-old man was killed in 2013 while driving a pickup that reportedly rear-ended a tractor-trailer parked along Interstate 75 in Fayette County, Ky.
McKee said this is not an anti-trucking bill.
“I like trucks. I’m pro-truck. I simply want to raise awareness with this legislation that parking on the on- and off-ramps is illegal now in Kentucky and can be very dangerous, as it was to Todd McCall, to other people,” McKee told the committee. “We just want people to park in approved areas.”
McKee also offered the change during the 2014 regular session. House lawmakers approved the bill, but it died in the Senate over concerns about higher fines being set after a brief warning period.
After a one-year warning phase, McKee said this year’s version would continue the fines already set.
“We don’t want to collect money from truckers. We simply want to raise awareness.”
Rep. Tim Couch, R-Hyden, said he would not vote in favor of the bill because it is an enforcement issue rather than a legislative issue. He also cited concerns about truck drivers running out of hours and not being able to find a facility with parking available.
Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs, has said the lack of truck parking available in states that include Kentucky creates legitimate public safety issues for motorists and truckers.
“Truckers do not park on shoulders or entry or exit ramps by choice. They do so only if there is not a safe and viable alternative,” Matousek said.
The bill, HB170, awaits further consideration on the House floor. If approved there, it would move to the Senate.
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