Tractor-trailers parking on the side of the road pose a greater threat to safety than many may think

Local News

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Several truck drivers were cited Wednesday morning for parking illegally near where a fatal crash happened on I-81 in Botetourt County.

Virginia State Police confirm 30-year-old Michael Kreul of Lexington was the lone fatality in the crash.

State police go on to say this is a recurring issue on Virginia highways, especially I-81. Parking illegally on the side of the road can result in several traffic infractions and fines along with them.

Drivers say parking on the side of the road is a last resort, but they’re often faced with having to choose that last resort more times than one may think.

Federal law says commercial vehicle drivers can only drive 11 hours a day. However, in Virginia, some drivers find themselves on the side of I-81 at the end of a shift, saying places where drivers are allowed to stop are few and far between.

“I’ll stop an hour or two before I have to if that’s the only place I can park,” said Billy Lamb, a truck driver who spoke with WFXR News at the rest stop on mile marker 158 in Botetourt County.

Lamb has never personally stopped on the side of the road, but he has had some close calls like the one that led to a fatal multi-vehicle crash Wednesday, July 29, in Botetourt County.

“I looked over here and this place was full, and I was planning to risk coming here to see if there was a place to park. So I was going to have to park on the side of the road,” Lamb said.

“The only time you’re supposed to stop on the side of the interstate is if you’re having a problem, mechanical problems, some reason that doesn’t let your vehicle continue,” said Sgt. Richard Garletts with Virginia State Police.

Garletts isn’t a stranger to ticketing drivers for parking on the side of the road, but he tries to be sympathetic.

“If you’re tired, you need to find somewhere to park, instead of just driving tired. I understand that, but this particular choice of parking on the side of the interstate was not the correct choice this morning,” Garletts said.

Lamb says he hopes something can be done about the parking situation for drivers, such as introducing more rest stops along I-81.

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