Jan 8, 2009

On Tractor Trailers and Self-Centered Truckers

I will be the first to recognize that the life of the over the road trucker is not an easy one, and we owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who are willing to drive thousands of miles per week to deliver the millions of items needed to keep the economy chugging along. However, I grow irritated at the truckers who feel it is their right to park their rigs wherever they want.

Pictured is a private lot at a former Seven-11 near my house that regularly features anywhere from three to six trailers and cabs. Within weeks of the closing of the store, truckers began to use the lot for storing trailers and semis. In my experience, the arrival of the first semi-trailer on a lot turns into a free-for-all within weeks, as word gets out about the new parking opportunities.

The reason that these truckers use the property of other people is pretty simple: if they park their rigs in a designated spot, such as at the dispatch center, they might have to drive an inconvenient distance to get back to their trucks. If a driver can find a spot in a residential neighborhood where no one raises a fuss, it can save time in between shifts.

When I was in business as a retail operator with multiple units, I used to have ongoing battles with an arrogant trucker who parked his trailers and rig on my lot, blocking my visibility from the road and hogging 10-12 spaces. He once laughed at me when I threatened to have his vehicle towed, since the impound lot we worked with was only equipped to tow passenger vehicles.

"Good luck towing my shit with a light duty tow truck," he said, hopping into his rig.

Eventually he tired of my complaints and irritated notes, and moved on to a place with less hassle, but there was little I could do in the meantime. The city would not issue tickets on a private lot, and I was not about to spend $200 to hire a heavier duty tow truck.

Again - I have sympathy for the difficult job faced by truckers, but I am of the opinion that following zoning and parking regulations is a cost of doing business. If I wanted to live near an industrial zone with the view of semi-trailers in my neighborhood, I would make that move. However, a few truckers believe their desire for convenience outweighs the rights of homeowners in a residential neighborhood to enjoy the quality of life they paid for when they bought their houses.


Anonymous said...

At least these truckers park on vacant lots. In my neighborhood we have a guy who parks his semis and trailers in his backyard!!! And the township won't do anything aboit it.


Mad Jack said...

Which is the advantage of living in a township - no stupid, Draconian city laws enacted by ignorant fat heads gorging themselves at the public tax trough. I'll take the semi rigs anytime so long as I can keep my own house the way I like it - such as hanging my laundry out to dry on a clothes line.

Interfering with business is different - the OTR trucker is taking money out of my pocket, which he has no right to do. The landlord who owned the lot could make him move by filing criminal trespass charges, or History Mike might have called the consignee(s) that this hose bag was hauling freight for and complained. Trust me, the consignee and the shipper take this kind of thing seriously, as does the trucking company. I presume that this trucker was an independent, and so got his loads from a trucking company.

Anonymous said...

I would complain about this annoyance, but I also used this 7/11 lot to gather signatures for my drive-through petition attempt. The strategy was surprisingly somewhat effective in getting signatures, but neither I nor my volunteers were the size of a trailer, and we eventually left after a couple hours.