Those of you who have read my comments and blog posts, both here on IB and at http://truckied.wordpress.com know how much of a problem it can be to find a truck parking space. So, what’s a driver to do when there’s nowhere to park within a driver’s legal hours of service?
I’d like to give you a couple of typical scenarios that truck drivers encounter frequently. Then, I’d like to see comments on what you think drivers should do in that situation. I’d particularly like to hear from IB’s attorney members, especially if you’ve encountered similar situations in the past.
We’ll assume that after each of these scenarios, the truck driver was involved in a DOT reportable crash vs. a car, with injuries.
The truck driver is at a shipper. They take 6 hours to load the truck. (6 hours is an inordinate amount of time — any loading time over 2 hours is excessive). Since they took so long loading, the driver is now over 14 hours (the legal limit) for the day. The shipper refuses to allow the driver to park there for his DOT required 10 hour break, and tell him he has to leave. The nearest truck parking that he knows of is about an hour away.
The truck driver is on the road, and has reached his 11 hour driving limit, but still has about 2 hours left on his 14 hour clock. He’s stopped at every truck stop and rest area for the last 2 1/2 hours looking for a place to park. He’s in a state that prohibits parking on ramps and shoulders.
Here’s what I’d specifically like to know:
What (from a legal standpoint) should the driver do in each of these situations?
What recourse (if any) does the driver have against anyone else?
What would be the likely outcome of a lawsuit against the driver and trucking company?
I’d really like your comments on this.