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Truckers Left with Limited Places to Park

BENTON TOWNSHIP — Truck drivers who travel through our area are sounding off after a state police announcement about where truckers can and can’t pa...
lacka trucks

BENTON TOWNSHIP -- Truck drivers who travel through our area are sounding off after a state police announcement about where truckers can and can't park.

Troopers want truckers to know that the highway is off limits, but drivers say their options are limited.

Interstate 81 is a big avenue for tractor trailers and state police in Lackawanna County say they've received a rising number of complaints from drivers about big rigs parking on highway ramps overnight.

It's against the law, but truck drivers say state police are drawing attention to a problem that doesn't have a solution.

"It's either the off-ramp or in a ditch somewhere. That's a simple choice."

Each tractor trailer driver who gets a parking spot at a rest stop can consider themselves lucky, especially amid local complaints about truckers who park on an Interstate 81 on-ramp. State police say truck drivers could be cited for doing it.

David Realffe says he hasn't had to do it.

"Not yet, but it's always been close. I've been very fortunate so far."

Realffe says truckers parked on the highway are usually there only because they couldn't find a spot to rest in an actual rest stop.

"Usually, it's when the sun goes down. I try to find a place before the sun goes down, and after that, it's really playing the lottery."

It's a business completely restricted by time and many truck drivers we spoke to say it will typically take them about an hour just to find a place to park for the night, and sometimes that's the most difficult part of their day.

"It makes a long day. I'm 76 years old. It makes a long day!"

Bob Hewings has been on the road for more than 50 years. By now, he knows how to time his trips to available rest areas.

Newer drivers, he says, face more pressure to complete runs in their 10-hour shifts. He's not sure what can be done to make them and other drivers safer.

The people they deliver to often forbid them from parking on private property.

"We haul out to California, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia area and those folks got all kinds of parking areas on their premises, so we have to sit outside the gate somewhere or find a truck stop," Hewings explained.

State police say they can't offer many alternatives to parking on interstate on-ramps. If a driver is caught parked there, they can be fined about $50.