After increased media scrutiny, North Carolina Highway Patrol officers say that safety — and not the wishes of a political campaign donor — is the reason that they are cracking down on truck drivers parking on ramps off of I-77.
Troopers: Data, Not Dollars, the Reason for Increased Enforcement
The Highway Patrol says that the parking law preventing drivers from using on and off ramps to park was lightly enforced in the past, but their reason for stepping up enforcement has to do with increasing highway safety.
“Any violation is a hazard. That’s a fatality waiting to happen,” said Highway Patrol Col. William Grey. He also cited DOT statistics which blamed parked vehicles for nearly 1 out of every five fatal highway crashes — though he was not sure if any of those parked vehicles were located on interstate ramps.
Campaign Donor Invited Trooper to View “Unsightly” Trucks
Grey was made aware of the problem when prominent campaign donor Charlie Shelton invited him to tour the area around his family business, Shelton Vineyards, to see what an “unsightly” problem parked trucks were creating for the 80,000 people who visit his vineyard each year.
Shelton Donated Almost $40,000 to McCrory’s Campaign
Shelton and his family contributed $32,000 to Governor McCrory’s campaign prior to his election in 2012. This summer after the Highway Patrol began their truck parking crackdown, Shelton and his brother Ed wrote thank you notes to both Grey and McCrory and donated an additional $6000 to help McCrory get reelected.
In spite of increased scrutiny from the media, Governor McCrory stands by his decision to crack down on truck parking: “I stand by any and all efforts to enforce road safety laws, especially when illegal parking has caused nearly 20 percent of the interstate roadway fatalities during the last five years.”