Our economy and lifestyles wouldn’t exist without commercial trucks hauling everything we need and want. The downside of the convenience and efficiency this massive fleet of trucks provides is that they can be dangerous. Some trucks aren’t maintained or repaired correctly, and drivers may make mistakes that cause crashes. One of those errors is parking illegally and creating a situation that causes an accident.
Commercial trucks include everything from tractor-trailers to trucks used by home repair contractors and delivery companies. Illegal parking for all these vehicles poses a potential safety hazard for other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that 72.5% of cargo carried by all types of domestic freight transportation involved commercial trucks in 2020. Trucks hauled 10.23 billion tons of freight, and motor carriers collected $732.3 billion in revenue that year.
Federal safety regulations require long-haul drivers to limit their driving times:
- A maximum of 11 hours driving after ten consecutive hours off duty
- Drivers must take a half-hour break after going for eight cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption
- They may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in seven/eight consecutive days
As a result, these trucks must stop and park at some point. Whether they park legally and safely depends on the situation. Surveys cited by the federal Department of Transportation state that:
- More than three-quarters of truck drivers and nearly two-thirds of logistics personnel reported regularly having problems with finding safe parking locations when drivers needed to stop working
- Ninety percent stated they struggled to find safe and available parking during night hours
Drivers and trucking companies should map out routes that allow drivers to comply with limits on their driving and park safely. But trips may take longer than expected due to traffic, weather, or difficulty loading or unloading cargo. As a result, truck drivers do the best they can, which may result in a hazardous situation that endangers others.
Accidents Involving Illegally Parked Tractor Trailers
How do these accidents happen? It depends on the situation, but vehicles often rear-end trucks and trailers when parked in dangerous locations.
- Two Trucks Collide in California
The family of a man killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer illegally parked on the paved shoulder of the transition lane between two state routes was awarded $11,050,000 in a wrongful death action after a 2019 trial. This passenger in an oncoming vehicle, and the truck driver, were killed in the accident, according to the Courtroom Video Network.
Based on evidence at the scene and autopsy results, plaintiffs contended that the truck driver pulled over to urinate by the side of the highway. The trucking company that employed him stated he believed something was wrong, properly pulled the truck over, and was inspecting it when a box truck rear-ended it.
The box truck veered right to avoid another vehicle that cut it off, sending it into the breakdown lane, where the tractor-trailer parked. The deceased was a passenger in the box truck. The plaintiffs claimed the collision wouldn’t have happened if the tractor-trailer wasn’t parked illegally.
- Illegally Parked Tractor Trailer Struck From Behind
A 23-year-old Bridgeport, Connecticut man was killed after his car crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer illegally parked at the entrance of an I-95 service area in nearby Fairfield.
The truck was partially in a marked fire lane where a sign warned drivers that parking wasn’t permitted. The car went under the trailer at about 1:00 am, and first responders declared the driver dead at the scene.
The accident occurred in 2017. Five years earlier, another driver was killed under similar circumstances at the same rest stop, according to the News Times.
Commercial Vehicles on Local Streets
Businesses may own trucks of all shapes and sizes. They may be delivering goods, bringing employees to a worksite, or working on construction in the area. It may be hard to tell, but parking rules and regulations apply to all vehicles. Despite what you see on the street, commercial vehicles aren’t supposed to double park, block driveways or sidewalks, or use bike lanes as parking spots.
This is more than an inconvenience for others. Illegally parking a commercial truck may force others to go around it, exposing them to an increased risk of being struck by another vehicle.
Accidents Involving Illegally Parked Trucks on Local Streets
Too often, businesses are more concerned about convenience than safety.
- Three-Year-Old Killed Because of Truck Illegally Parked in Bike Lane
Elizabeth “Lily” Grace Shambrook was killed in Chicago in 2022 at the age of three. She was on the back of a bike driven by her mother, Kate Snow when they encountered a utility truck illegally parked in a bike lane.
She moved over to avoid it and was pushed into the utility truck by a passing tractor-trailer (though it was illegal for that truck to be on that street). It struck Snow and her daughter, killing the child, according to the Block Club Chicago.
The utility truck driver received two tickets for parking within 30 feet of a stop sign and in a bicycle lane. The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the utility and the tractor-trailer owner in 2023.
- Travel Lanes Treated Like Parking Lots
Rasheeda Marsh was killed when her Honda collided with an unattached truck trailer, illegally parked in a left-hand turn lane in Oakland, California, in 2020. The area is known to have trucks and trailers illegally park on road medians and travel lanes overnight reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Owners do so to keep their place in line when they enter the nearby Port of Oakland as it opens in the morning.
A city police officer was critically injured after slamming his patrol SUV into a parked semi-truck in the same area less than two years before this accident. The accident was early on a Monday before the port opened its gates.
Speak To a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Have you been injured in an accident involving an illegally parked truck or commercial vehicle in Kentucky? If so, our law firm can and will help you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Put boots on the ground with help from Satterley & Kelley PLLC.
Check out our truck accident page for more information.