If you park in a Massachusetts service plaza at the start of a long trip, you’d better hope you’ve got someone at home watching your mail for you!
Considering the lack of truck parking in New England, we think the Massachusetts State Police is playing a dirty trick on truckers who are parked in service plazas. If they want to issue parking citations, they should inform the trucker he should expect a ticket in the mail or issue a warning only ticket. Mailing tickets with extremely small response margins to over-the-road truckers without warning is simply another way to squeeze money out of truckers through late fees.
Even if you don’t have a parking ticket waiting for you when you wake up or return to your truck, you may have a ticket waiting in your mailbox. And if you don’t respond to the mailed ticket within 20 days of the violation, you may have late charges to deal with- the instance discussed here did not result in late charges, but a longer delay in payment might.
A member of the CoopsAreOpen.com Information Gathering Team received a citation for a parking violation. He was parked in the I 90 west bound Westboro Plaza at 4 pm in a non-trucking area. Though curb-side parking is not “legal” truck parking, it is common in New England for truckers to park along the curbs in service plazas. There simply isn’t enough room for trucks to park anywhere else.
The driver was in the cab of his truck for approximately 30 minutes and went inside to eat in the food court- another 30 minutes. The ticket was waiting for him in the mail more than a month later when he got home- keep in mind, he was home within a week of the violation’s date, but the ticket didn’t arrive before he headed out on another trip.
The $15 ticket had “All Civil Infractions” checked on the front- with instructions to be followed on the back.
If “ALL CIVIL INFRACTIONS” is checked, all the violations with which you are charged are civil infractions. WITHIN 20 DAYS of the date of the citation, you must check either Box 1 indicating you are paying the citation, or Box 2, indicating you are requesting a hearing below, sign where indicated and mail this citation in the envelope provided. If this citation has more than one violation, you may request a hearing on any one or more of the violations. However, you may not pay the citation until those violations for which a hearing has been requested have been resolved.
If you fail to return this citation within 20 days with either Box 1 or Box 2 checked :
*You will lose your right to a hearing;
*You will have to pay substantial late charges, and;
*Your driver’s license/right to operate or registration will be suspended until you pay in full, including late charges and reinstatement fees.
As it turns out, there were no late fees applied to this particular citation. The $15 ticket remained a $15 dollar ticket, despite being paid more than a month after the date it was given. It did result in a 16 minute long distance phone call (on hold) to pay the ticket over the phone. After a certain time period, the ticket can no longer be paid online.
We’re hoping that the state of Massachusetts will take their parking ticket money and use it to build parking areas for 18-wheelers.