Home -> Contact -> Blog

Can semi-trucks park on the side of the interstate?

Brodie Law Group Logo

Every day across Georgia you see semi-trucks parked along the interstate exit ramps and many times on the shoulder of the interstate. Shoulders on the interstate, or any road, are not designed to be parking spaces for semi-trucks or vehicles of any kind.

They are designed for emergency stops only.

Parking a semi-truck along the shoulder of the interstate creates a hazard for other drivers because it can obstruct the views of other drivers on curves, cause drivers to veer into another lane to avoid the truck, and it can also lead to collisions. Unfortunately, we see these types of accidents everyday across Georgia – fatal crash when SUV hits back of tractor-trailer parked on side of I-75 in Cobb County.

Why do truck drivers park on the shoulder of interstates?

The main reason is simple: truck stops and rest areas are running out of space for semi-trucks to park.

So, truck drivers that arrive at truck stops late in the afternoon or evening will sometimes find themselves without a place to park. Truck drivers have strict rules to follow regarding hours of service and required rest times so they can’t simply continue to drive while they search for available truck parking.

Commercial truck drivers are governed by the Motor Carrier Safety Regulations issued by the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and any equivalent state laws. These Federal Safety Rules are the minimum standards and individual states such as Georgia cannot introduce less stringent motor carrier safety rules.

The law on parking semi-trucks on the interstates

49 CFR 392.22 directly addresses the issue of tractor-trailers stopped on the shoulders of highways and interstates. Under the federal regulation, stopping a commercial motor vehicle on the shoulder of the interstate is permitted if the following conditions are followed:

  1. When stopped on the shoulder of a highway for any reason other than a traffic stop, the driver shall immediately activate the tractor-trailer’s flashing hazard lights;
  2. Flashing hazard lights must remain on until the driver places warning devices on the traffic side of the tractor-trailer;
  3. The driver must place warning devices no later than 10 minutes after stopping on the shoulder;
  4. Approved warning devices are three bi-directional emergency reflective triangles, red flags, fuses and liquid-burning flares;
  5. Stopped tractor-trailers must place warning devices:
    1. On the traffic side four paces (approximately 10 feet) from the tractor trailer; and
    2. One at 40 paces (100 feet) from the tractor trailer in the center of the shoulder in the direction of oncoming traffic; and
    3. At 40 paces from the tractor trailer in the direction away from oncoming traffic.
  6. If stopped on the shoulder within 500 feet of a hill, curve, or other obstruction, the truck driver must place a warning device in the direction of the obstruction at a distance of 100 to 500 feet from the tractor trailer.

Truck drivers may stop their tractor trailer on the shoulder of the interstate if all of the above precautions are met for warning other drivers of the tractor-trailer stopped on the shoulder of the road.

The warning devices must remain until the stopped truck can leave the shoulder of the road.

However, parking on the shoulder of the interstate to rest or sleep will probably constitute a violation of trucking regulations even if all of the above required precautions are taken.

Contact Our Macon Injury Lawyers

If you’ve been injured, you need to contact our Macon injury lawyers at (478) 239-2780. The cost for a consultation is free and the peace of mind knowing your case will receive the utmost attention is priceless. 

Contact Us