Pop quiz! Suppose you are hauling freight to the New York Metro region from another part of the country. You have an early morning delivery and are running out of hours. What do you do? Easy, look for safe overnight parking. Curveball, there is none available. Now what do you do? This is the exact situation that drivers find themselves in every day due to the lack of overnight parking. This problem has been exacerbated due to the ELD Mandate. Where as before, drivers could better use their discretion to at least find a commercial or industrialized zone to rest for a few hours, now their hands are completely tied. They must pull over when their hours are up.
Enter the New York City Council. New regulations will reduce the amount of time that a tractor-trailer can be legally parked from 3 hours to just 90 minutes city wide. Fines would also be increased for a first violation to $400, and $800 for subsequent violations within a six-month period. No mention of the city building or helping to facilitate overnight truck parking facilities. To be fair such discussions do take place from time to time with the Mayor’s Office and DOT but for a variety of reasons the status quo was deemed acceptable. Clearly that is no longer the case.
Politicians seem to think (misguidedly so) that there are more affordable options, but truckers intentionally disregard them to save a couple of bucks and by taxing them such a high rate they won’t do that anymore. Unfortunately for all involved, the politicians are wrong. There are very few overnight parking facilities in New York City or the nearby suburbs and the facilities that do exist, like by JFK, are at capacity every night.
These substantial new fines are just another assault against commerce by New York. Between the Mayor’s ill-conceived Clear Curbs Initiative as well as cuts to savings for companies enrolled in the stipulated fine program it is likely that the costs of goods and services to the Metro region will steadily increase. Moreover, companies and drivers who prioritize safety may be less likely to work the region due to the onerous regulations, fees, and general climate in the city. Since there is no place to park and drivers are operating under FEDERAL guidelines, this rule won’t solve the problem (therefore the status quo was the least bad of all the bad options).
It is also possible that this law will have an adverse effect on large scale deliveries in industrial zones regardless of overnight parking. 90 minutes max for tractor trailers is an insufficient amount of time for many of the necessary deliveries in these zones.
So, what exactly are truckers stuck in this situation to do? For starters many avoid residential areas by parking along highway shoulders such as the LIE and Clearview unfortunately this is far less safe than say parking by a cemetery on Woodhaven Boulevard but if it is something the driver is comfortable with, they could continue to do it. Next would be to continue to park in commercial or industrial areas BUT to avoid residential areas as best as possible. This is a great illustration of how bad this new bill is. The industrial parking option is far safer than the highway shoulder option, yet due to the reduction in times less feasible. Look to stage outside of New York City while preparing for morning deliveries. Despite what New York City politicians say, truck drivers are licensed professionals and should use their discretion at all times.