From the Orleans Police Department:
Beginning in May, The Orleans Police Department will be conducting a new initiative, called “Clear Streets”. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure the roadways in Orleans remain free from any vehicles and equipment that are left unattended. This will include, but not limited to: Landscape trucks and or trailers, construction equipment, construction trailers (or sometimes called Jobsite trailers).
The Orleans Police Department is determined to have the roadways clear for safety purposes. During the summer the police department will receive complaints from motorists saying that a landscape trailer is parked along a roadway and it is difficult for the car to pass the truck and trailer safely. In some cases, by the time an officer can respond the truck and trailer has left the area.
Currently, officers on patrol that encounter this situation, will instruct the operators to move the equipment off the roadway. But in some cases, the operators of the equipment cannot be found, which requires the officers to contact the landscape company and try to locate where the equipment operators are, and then have them move the equipment.
The Orleans Police Department will begin using a Town of Orleans ticketing system. Following an educational period, future encounters may garner a written ticket for parking within an unobstructed lane, additional infractions may lead to additional tickets or towing if the equipment poses a safety concern. This is to protect both the motoring public from equipment parked within a travel way, and to protect the landscape or construction company from any damaged equipment should a collision occur.
Q: Why is this now all of a sudden, a concern? This has been done for years on most back roads…
A: With a majority of people utilizing smart phones to assist with maps and traffic, several apps- i.e. Waze, Google maps, etc. will reroute traffic from a heavily congested road, to a parallel road or one that will circumvent a congested area. A back roadway that would normally see 20-30 cars per hour now may see upwards of 150-200 cars because of “re-routing” by the travel apps.
Q: If the road is relatively straight, and there is plenty of good visibility, would it be ok for a truck and trailer to park along the roadway and place a cone and or activate the “4-way flashers” on the vehicle?
A: Although this may seem like a good alternative, in reality it is not. If motorists are detoured to an alternate route, more than likely they will show signs of distracted driving due to smart phone usage. An orange cone or flashing light during the day may not grab their attention. Also, in the advent that a cyclist or pedestrian may be passing the same equipment that is in the roadway, this becomes even more dangerous.
Q: If there is an accident, isn’t it the fault of the person passing the equipment? Isn’t it incumbent on them to make sure its safe to pass before doing so?
A: Not necessarily. If the equipment is in the roadway and unattended, it forces a motorist to pass the equipment in an opposing lane, this is an increase in exposed liability toward the “reason” the accident occurred- truck, trailer or construction equipment parked and blocking a travel way.
As with any new enforcement issues, there will be some questions. Please feel free to contact Lieutenant Kevin Higgins at 508-255-0117, or email at [email protected] with any concerns.