Lack of parking in New Jersey may be leading to trucker fatigue

A new federal survey says a lack of parking may be contributing to truck driver fatigue, especially in New Jersey.

A study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration says that a lack of available parking may be contributing to fatigue and dangerous driving practices among truck drivers, according to the Wall Street Journal. The federal survey found that truck drivers say it is especially difficult to find safe parking in the Mid-Atlantic states, which include New Jersey. The issue is particularly concerning given the rising number of serious truck accidents across the United States, with much of that rise being attributed to driver fatigue.

Lack of available parking

The survey found that 75 percent of truck drivers and 66 percent of logistics personnel often had trouble finding a safe parking place when they needed to rest. Furthermore, at night ninety percent of respondents said they "struggled" to find parking in order to rest. The Mid-Atlantic states, which include New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, were ranked as the most difficult region in the country in which to find safe truck parking.

The difficulty in finding legal areas to park has led many truck drivers to rely on ad hoc and, at times, illegal areas for rest. Freeway ramps accounted for close to half of all unofficial rest areas, while freeway shoulders and parking lots accounted for 27 and 20 percent of unofficial truck rest stops respectively. Parking illegally presents a particular problem for police since they must often decide whether to tell a possibly fatigued truck driver to move along or else allow him or her to rest in a spot illegally and which could possibly pose a risk to other drivers.

Truck accident danger

A lack of parking spaces is especially worrying as it likely contributes to driver fatigue among truck drivers. Trucker fatigue is an issue that has gained prominence since an accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan on the New Jersey Turnpike last year, which was blamed on driver fatigue. Furthermore, the trucking industry has successfully lobbied federal lawmakers in recent months to increase the number of hours that truckers are allowed to be on the road.

As the New York Times report, truck safety is a growing issue given the growing number of serious truck accidents. Although fatalities from car accidents declined three percent from 2009 to 2013, deaths related to truck accidents have risen 17 percent over the same period. In 2013 alone, for example, close to 4,000 people were killed in truck accidents, most of them drivers or passengers of smaller vehicles that were involved in collisions with the larger trucks.

When an accident happens

The dangers posed by truck accidents continue to grow, with fatigue and distracted driving being leading causes of these serious accidents. Although regulations exist to ensure truck drivers and owners operate their vehicles in a safe manner, such regulations are not always followed. Often the consequence of not operating or maintaining a truck safely is a serious accident that leaves innocent victims seriously injured or even killed. Anybody who has been personally affected by a truck accident should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will be able to assist accident victims, including by clarifying what compensation they may be able to pursue to help them recover from their ordeal.