99% of the time, I do not go along with all the finger pointing done towards truck drivers; not for most accidents, being fatigued from not sleeping, or most of anything else one can think of. However, in one area, I lay the blame directly on truckers; that is for damaging and trashing where we park. I am not talking about along the traveled part of the highways for the most part, but the truck stop parking lots, rest area truck parking areas, on ramps and other areas commonly used by truckers for parking.
Recently, Werner Robbins Georgia banned trucks from parking over two hours on city lots, truckers stood up in force and the mayor and city council rethought their initial decision and rescinded the ban. However, when the story first broke about the ban, a city council member from Werner Robbins cited that trash left behind by truckers was one of the reasons for the ban. I can believe that.
Brookfield Missouri’s Walmart allowed overnight parking for truckers for years. This was a good thing because there are no major truck parking areas from Cameron to Hannibal Missouri along Hwy 36, a matter of roughly 150 miles. The parking problem is so bad along this stretch that when on and off ramps were built at a couple of exits about midway along; they were built with shoulders wide enough for a semi to fit nicely to park. Within the last 6 months or so, Brookfield’s Walmart has put up signs saying ‘no overnight truck parking’. Why; because someone knocked down a light pole with their truck and then took off.
It does not stop there, towns and cities all over the country are putting truck bans in place, we see the stories time after time. Can you blame them? I have seen the residual left from trucks, both trash and damage done to asphalt and light poles. The damage done is sheer inconsiderate behavior or stupidity, someone not knowing not to turn too sharp in warm weather that causes a plowing effect on the asphalt, or how to turn wide enough to get around a pole. The trash is just shear laziness or not caring.
The trash problem is not limited to public places either; it has traveled to terminals and drop yards. The company I work for has instituted a $100 fine for anyone seen throwing trash on the ground at either our office/car/bobtail parking lot or our drop yard. Both places have dumpsters provided by the company yet, our office staff had to go out and pick up 12 pee bottles from one place in the office lot, it was obvious that it was one driver who left them there. At our drop yard, the poo bags got so bad that the trailer mechanic was starting to get worried about getting under a trailer. While there are no facilities at our drop yard, the Quik Trip with truck parking is ¼ mile from the lot and again, there is a dumpster at the lot itself.
Being a 40+-year trucker/traveler I understand very well that sometimes Mother Nature calls and there is no place to stop and go, or one does not have time to find someplace. Anyone who has driven any time at all should know this too and figure out a way to take care of it in the truck when necessary. They also should know how to deal with the bottles or bags too without throwing them out the window. Triple bag the poo bags if you have to use that way, put a spritz of Lysol or window cleaner in it and tie each bag up tight, this will keep the smell down until one can find a trash dumpster. Bottles should be thrown away in the dumpster or trash can too…yes, I can hear you now, both might be distasteful to do, but it is better to have these things contained in a trash reciprocal rather than laying in the ditch.
Trash is easily gotten rid of, every truck stop/fuel stop/rest area has trash cans somewhere close by if not actual dumpsters. Trash includes sweeping your trailer out onto the ground or throwing blown tires or pallets in the ditch or back of the lot. Recently, I got nails in two tires due to someone sweeping their trailer out onto the staging area at a warehouse. While trash is easily gotten rid of, the blown tires cost money for the tire shop to take away, I understand that, yet, one can pile them neatly by a dumpster; same with pallets. The other scrap, dust, nails and dirt from the trailer should be put into bags or a can then put in the dumpster or trash can.
There is no call for the trashing of where we have to work and/or park. Not only does it create issues with our being allowed to park, but it also hurts our image. So what, you might ask, why should you worry about what John Q Public thinks of you? Who do you think is pushing for stronger regulations against us? Who do you think is pushing these truck parking bans? Who do you think makes up those safety advocate groups? John Q Public is who. If you have not figured that out yet, then shame on you driver for not only throwing your trash out on the side of the road and in truck parking lots, but also not paying attention to the industry. I for one am tired of looking at your trash, so is John Q Public.