News 4 Investigates: Trucks create hazards by parking on ramps at rest stops
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOV) - Every day on highways across the Metro East, trucks are stopping in places they’re not supposed to be for required safety rest, which in turn is creating another hazard. The deadly Greyhound bus crash in Madison County is putting a spotlight on the practice.
On Wednesday July 12, a Greyhound bus crashed into three trucks parked in the shoulder of the I-70 ramp to the westbound Silver Lake rest stop. The crash injured 14 people and three passengers died.
“I see it every day, they’re parked all over,” said Anthony White, a truck driver who has been traveling across the country for 20 years.
Federal law limits how many hours truckers can be on the road before they need to rest, what’s called “hours of service.” As of 2017 trucks are required to have electronic logging devices, called ELD’s. The electronic logs are sent directly to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). If a truck driver doesn’t stop to rest when they are supposed to, the electronic log will send that to the feds.
“If I’m in violation, if DOT wants, they can write me a violation,” White said. “If you don’t stop by 5 or 6 o’clock [pm] there’s nowhere to park.”
News 4 Investigates went on the road, driving along Metro East highways to see how often trucks are stopping to spend the night. News 4 started driving before sunrise. In a matter of minutes traveling on I-70 in Illinois, News 4 spotted more than 20 trucks parked in on and off ramps. Several ramps had “no parking” signs with trucks parked right by them.
Drivers have varied takes on enforcement.
“I got tickets for that, I try not to,” said Lonnie McAdoo.
Anthony White said he doesn’t stop on the ramps, but also said he hasn’t seen enforcement of the no parking rule.
“They say that, but the cops don’t do anything thing, go to any one of the truck stops you’ll see them all over the ramps,” White added.
News 4 Investigates went back to the westbound Silver Lake rest stop where the crash happened and found two days after the crash a truck was parked in the same area, on the shoulder of the entrance ramp. Leaving the rest stop there are signs on that ramp stating “no parking” but the shoulder next to them is torn up with tire marks showing drivers aren’t following the rules.
Republican Illinois Congressman Rep. Mike Bost believes he has a solution to add more parking to rest areas. He is behind a bi-partisan bill called the “Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act.” The bill would set aside $755 million over three years, allowing states to receive grants to add more parking to existing rest stops and build new ones.
“It expands and gives money that is not taken away from highway bridges and things like that,” Bost explained.
Bost proposed this bill before during past sessions, but it didn’t pass. He believes the Greyhound crash should show lawmakers that something needs to change.
Bost is also eyeing electronic monitoring logs in trucks which he believes is part of the problem.
“The electronic log books don’t allow for any commonsense stuff unfortunately, you’re going to say you’re going to drive from this point to this point and you’ve got to have this stop, and this stop even if you’re not in a place you can stop,” Bost added.
On the road drivers like White know their options are limited, leaving some crossing a dangerous line to park on the shoulder.
“I wish they had more parking I mean we have plenty of land in the country,” White said.
News 4 asked Illinois State Police what it’s doing to enforce parking rules and requested records on tickets.
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