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North Carolina troopers ordered to catch truckers napping


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The News & Observer / June 8, 2015

Sleepy truck drivers who park for naps alongside interstate on-ramps can expect rude awakenings this summer from state troopers under orders to enforce an overlooked no-parking law.

The first wake-up message was delivered in a May 26 “attention all truckers” memo from the Highway Patrol that focused on Interstate 77 in the western Piedmont. It spelled out a stern prohibition against parking on the shoulders, exit ramps and on-ramps of interstate highways and rest areas, and at weigh stations after hours.

Trucking companies complained. The Highway Patrol retracted the I-77 memo, announced a statewide focus, in friendlier language, that included cars as well as trucks – and added thanks to the N.C. Trucking Association for helping to spread the word.

“We’re not picking on truckers or commercial drivers,” said Sgt. Michael Baker, a patrol spokesman. “We’re asking all motorists to plan their routes and make sure they have proper stopping points.”

A state traffic law forbids drivers to “stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, on any part or portion of the right-of-way” of an interstate highway – except in emergency. The public right of way includes the paved and dirt shoulders along the ramps as well as the main road, Baker said.

“This has come out of our commander’s office,” Baker explained “The colonel has traveled the state and noticed a lot of this. We’re basically asking our troopers to step up the enforcement of that statute.”

Col. Bill Grey, the Highway Patrol commander, called it a safety issue.

“With the increased traffic volume across the state, it is imperative that we keep our highways free of roadside hazards to include improperly parked vehicles,” Grey said in a news release.

Citing traffic statistics from the state Department of Transportation, Baker said parked vehicles were a factor in 101 out of the 512 deaths recorded in interstate highway crashes over the past five years.

Death can come when a driver veers off the road and clips a vehicle parked on the shoulder. The victims can include a motorist changing a tire or a police officer writing a ticket.

But have any of these crashes involved trucks parked up along the ramps – well away from the freeway traffic itself? Baker said he didn’t know of any such cases.

Truckers say the Highway Patrol may be missing the real safety issues raised by those naps on the freeway ramp. They stop there because they’ve run up against federal work limits – designed to reduce driver fatigue – or because they really do need some shut-eye.

“It’s crucial for truck drivers to be able to safely park and rest,” said Norita Taylor, spokeswoman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, based in Missouri. “Truckers are not able to control their schedules and are also required to comply with hours of service regulations. If you see a truck parked on an entrance ramp, it’s likely because he or she had no other choice.”

Hours of service rules require truckers to stop after they’ve worked 14 hours in 24, or have driven 11 of those hours. Company-employed drivers rely on their dispatchers to schedule their trips so they’ll be able to rest at a safe and legal spot, such as a truck stop. Independent drivers have more responsibility for their own schedules.

“If trucking companies work with their drivers, they know their hours are ending at a certain time,” said Ernie Brame, manager of the Kenly 95 Petro truck stop on Interstate 95 at Kenly, which provides space where as many as 400 truckers can spend the night. “They need to plan their trip so they’re at a place where they can stop. And if they run out of time, they’re going to have to stop where they are and pull off on an exit ramp.”

Truckers and other drivers need to find a safe, legal place to nap, Baker said.

“We’re not going to make a trucker drive down the highway if he’s tired or he’s run out of hours,” Baker said. “But there have been times we’ve come upon a driver who had run out of hours, and instead of driving 2 more miles down the road to a truck stop, they pulled over.”

Interstate parking is a minor offense – an infraction – under state law. It may be one of those charges that officers file only in the event of an accident. State court statistics suggest that troopers won’t have to work very hard to beef up their ticket numbers this year.

In 2014, North Carolina officers cited only 177 drivers for interstate-parking violations, down from an average 285 over the preceding five years.

How does that compare with other infractions? The citation counts vary – but not in any way that necessarily matches the seriousness, or apparent prevalence, of the violation.

In 2014, North Carolina officers cited 110,622 drivers for failure to wear seat belts. But only 2,575 were charged with texting while driving, and just 53 drivers under 18 years old were charged with using cellphones. It would be easy to improve upon these numbers, too.

On the other hand, 1,429 drivers were cited last year for one of the silliest offenses in North Carolina traffic law: failure to sign the vehicle registration card.

So when that trooper rousts you from your nap and demands your license and registration, ask her if you can borrow her pen first.

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open the hood, spill some water on the engine-"got an engine leak somewhere"" need for it to cool down, then I can find/fix it"

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Success is only a stones throw away.................................................................for a Palestinian

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open the hood, spill some water on the engine-"got an engine leak somewhere"" need for it to cool down, then I can find/fix it"

Sure! Than they will cite you and issue an out of service for the "leak"

"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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Its a liability issue... one 4 Wheeler or even another semi runs into the back of a parked truck on the right of way and the lawsuits fly that's why all of a sudden it becomes an issue. we should park all the lawyers at the bottom of the ocean that would be a good start

Gregg

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In order for a car (or any vehicle type) to ram into the back of a truck parked "off the road" at speed, it would inherently be driving improperly, ie. recklessly, and bare the burden of responsibility.

Regarding parking on exit ramps and on-ramps of interstate highways and rest areas, and at weigh stations after hours, I'll also note the reduced speeds posted for those areas.

A rest area, by definition, is a place to rest. And indeed many states have divided parking to separate light vehicles from trucks. Why is it a driver can sleep legally at a Virginia or South Carolina rest area, but not in North Carolina.

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In order for a car (or any vehicle type) to ram into the back of a truck parked "off the road" at speed, it would inherently be driving improperly, ie. recklessly, and bare the burden of responsibility.

Regarding parking on exit ramps and on-ramps of interstate highways and rest areas, and at weigh stations after hours, I'll also note the reduced speeds posted for those areas.

A rest area, by definition, is a place to rest. And indeed many states have divided parking to separate light vehicles from trucks. Why is it a driver can sleep legally at a Virginia or South Carolina rest area, but not in North Carolina.

I know and you know, but wait until the ambulance chasers get hold of it... "Even though my client was texting and lighting a blunt and taking a picture while driving, that truck should never have been parked along the ramp, therefore megabucks trucking company needs to pay my client $18,000,000,000,000,000,000.13 for pain and suffering" .

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Speaking from experience, that stretch of I-77 has a severe shortage of truck parking. Next time the trooper chases you off the ramp, ask him to escort you to an appropriate parking area, then you can both ride around in circles all night. I must have tried every truck stop along NC I-77 during many trips to Charlotte, most nights do a loop around the lot, no empty spots, grab a coffee and keep on truckin' and toss the logbook out the window. Sleep at my customer in Charlotte.

Gregg

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The same can be said for most interstates in the east. Legal parking spaces are far outnumbered by the amount of trucks on the road.

Truckers and other drivers need to find a safe, legal place to nap, Baker said.

I'm sure truckers are choosing to park on shoulders and ramps because they like how the crown in the road sends blood to their heads or feet while sleeping. Where are these safe, legal places to nap that you speak of, Mr Baker?

Col. Bill Grey, the Highway Patrol commander, called it a safety issue

I see bad parking decisions being made on a nightly basis but those drivers make up a very small percentage of the total number of those parked for their 10 hour breaks. Methinks $$$ could be part of their motivation.

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Jim

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I see bad parking decisions being made on a nightly basis but those drivers make up a very small percentage of the total number of those parked for their 10 hour breaks. Methinks $$$ could be part of their motivation.

In the new order it seem all about $$.

A friends son about 35 years old made a u turn at an intersection to go into his street. It's allowed. Nassau PD decided he did it to avoid going past a parked squad car. He was charged with suspicion of DWI pending a blood test. He was still charged with it and $15000 dollars later the DA dropped the charge and dismissed the case. The County Lawyer (different from the DA) ordered his car seized. Seems that NYS has a law that any charge involving Alcohol or Drugs... even if it is dismissed, the County Legal dept can seize the vehicle you were driving. Now for a one time payment of 2/3 the current retail value or $10,000 (which ever is greater) you get the vehicle back. Nassau County and NYC have forfeiture and seizure payments and vehicle sales figured into the yearly budgets. I'm sure most other places do to.

All about the money nothing more nothing less.

I was told a while ago by a Suffolk Motor Officer (bike) that they are told to target trucks and people who drive older vehicles because neither of them have the time to fight the tickets. Just $$$$

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"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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Unfortunately you have to sue the cop personally for violating your civil rights. If the judge dismisses your case out of hand then you need to sue him personally for perpetuating a fraud. That is, a willing participant in a criminal enterprise that has nothing to do with safety but rather is designed to separate you from your money. Likewise the county lawyer. It ain't easy but it can be done.

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Unbelievable. I don't deal with anywheres near the traffic you guys do and there are absolutely no rest areas and only a hand full of truck stops not gas stations for literally hundreds of miles on the highway I drive and very few 5-10 truck rest areas along I15. When you come across the border into Mt on i15 it's 70 miles south to the first rest area that was just put in. If truckers here were fined for sleeping on exit ramps it would really be hard for them to follow the law since sometimes that border crossing business can take waaaay longer than it should. we will be regulated out of business by our government just like they've done with factory jobs where we used to produce stuff, logging and lumber mills where we used to produce stuff, mining operations where we used to produce stuff. But don't worry China will make it for us, polluting everything to hell then selling an inferior sometimes poisonous product like we have seen in the past and they will probably find a way to deliver it to us so we don't have to use our own dirty polluting trucks to do so.

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The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by the people who vote for a living.

The government can only "give" someone what they first take from another.

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Our government (ie. our employees) is supposed to serve the best interests of the people (a government of the people, by the people, for the people supposedly being our central theme).

North Carolina is making a "knee-jerk" decision here, and losing a lot of face in the process.

No rocket science here, there is a right way to go about this. Before parking on interstate highway exit ramps and on-ramps, rest areas and at weigh stations (after hours) for the purpose of rest is to be prohibited by North Carolina (IF indeed this change is the overwhelming desire of the people.....was there a referendum?), then firstly........alternative means need to be created that will replace the current means that are to be banned.

Alternative means being a convenient roadside facilty free-of-charge where drivers can legally rest (ie. sleep)..........I believe most states call them rest areas.

Clearly North Carolina must eradicate the term "rest area" within its boundaries (as the state's new draconian law bans resting there), and create a more applicable name.

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Unfortunately you have to sue the cop personally for violating your civil rights. If the judge dismisses your case out of hand then you need to sue him personally for perpetuating a fraud. That is, a willing participant in a criminal enterprise that has nothing to do with safety but rather is designed to separate you from your money. Likewise the county lawyer. It ain't easy but it can be done.

Once again, all we are doing is feeding the sharks, i. e. the lawyers.

Who are our politicians? Mostly lawyers. The legal structure in this country merely provides a feeding frenzy for their own kind.

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The problem as I see it is that the Elected do not think and do not have a lot of real world experience. We have people here passing laws who have never done what they are regulating, are using their bias to pass rules or looking at financial gain. We have here in Suffolk the local governments view that anything not white collar is in need of regulation or elimination. If it impedes the travel, causes them to have to think or upsets their image of what the the area should look like. . . it is fair game for regulation. Trucks are annoying, farms are dirty. What we need are more Uni-corns and rainbows....pass a new law requiring more!

"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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kinda like a friend of mine who went to the bar in his pickup had a few drinks and decided he over did it a bit and went to sleep in his pickup in the bar parking lot it was cold outside so he had the engine running for heat while he slept it off. cops wake him up and arrest him for being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence.

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kinda like a friend of mine who went to the bar in his pickup had a few drinks and decided he over did it a bit and went to sleep in his pickup in the bar parking lot it was cold outside so he had the engine running for heat while he slept it off. cops wake him up and arrest him for being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence.

New York you behind the wheel keys or no keys your gone.

"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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he wasn't even in the front seat. crew cab pickup and he was sleeping in the back seat.

seems kinda screwed up to me. as far as im concerned id rather someone sleep in there car than drive when they have had a couple to many. he ended up loosing his job over it. seems pretty screwed up to me for someone who was made the right choice not to drive.

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he wasn't even in the front seat. crew cab pickup and he was sleeping in the back seat.

seems kinda screwed up to me. as far as im concerned id rather someone sleep in there car than drive when they have had a couple to many. he ended up loosing his job over it. seems pretty screwed up to me for someone who was made the right choice not to drive.

Unless the cop was a real hard azz most would pull the keys and give a ticket for open can or tell you to call some one. Paul

"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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Supreme Court ruled "no duty to protect or serve." and on another occasion, "the truth is not a defense." It's about the $, and tough poop if you were treated unfairly.

Here in the good ol' USA we are circling the drain.

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Seem in these times you're guilty until proven innocent.

"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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