Tractor Trailers on the Highway Shoulder are an Unsafe Hazard

Tractor trailers stopped or parked on the side of the highway are a safety risk. Because of limited available rest areas, big rigs are using the side of the road as a place to sleep for the night. t’s all too common that an improperly parked tractor trailer, parked on the shoulder of a highway, causes a tractor trailer crash. The shoulder of a highway is not a parking area for long haul truckers—-it should only be used in an emergency. It is illegal for truckers to park on the side of the highway at night, in dark conditions, to sleep or rest.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) are the “rules of the road” for the trucking industry, and 49 CFR 392.22 is one such regulation that pertains to the use of the shoulder.

49 CFR 392.22 specifically addresses the use of the highway shoulder by commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), including tractor trailers. Here are the key rules and provisions outlined in this regulation:

1. Emergency Situations: Tractor trailers may use the shoulder of the highway for emergency purposes only. Emergency situations may include vehicle breakdowns, accidents, or other situations that require the CMV to stop temporarily.

2. Avoiding Further Danger: If a CMV is involved in an accident or breakdown and remains on the shoulder, the driver must use their hazard warning lights to alert other motorists and take steps to minimize the risk of further accidents. This may include using warning triangles, flares, or other appropriate warning devices.

3. Safety Precautions: The driver of the CMV should take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and other motorists when using the highway shoulder. This includes staying as far to the right on the shoulder as possible and avoiding impeding the normal flow of traffic.

4. Prompt Removal: Once the emergency situation has been resolved, the CMV should be removed from the shoulder as soon as possible. It is not intended for extended or routine use.

5. Exceptions for Stopping on the Shoulder: CMVs are allowed to use the shoulder for stopping in designated emergency areas or pull-off ramps, as well as when directed by law enforcement or other authorized personnel.

6.If stopped on a shoulder withing 500 feet of a hill, curve, or other obstruction, the truck must use a warning device 100 to 500 feet from the stopped truck. 

It’s important to note that these regulations are in place to ensure the safe and efficient use of the highway shoulder, as well as to reduce the risk of accidents and congestion. Violating these rules can result in fines and penalties for the driver and their carrier, and it can also pose a safety risk to other road users. Using the shoulder of the highway as a rest area can, and often does, lead to big rig crashes. If you have been in a tractor-trailer crash, call 888-353-5995 or send an email to

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      Phone: 404-835-9660

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