Home is where the heart is and for truckers their truck is home, all day and all night. The 5th anniversary of Michael Boeglin’s death hits close to home in multiple ways.
June 27th, 2014
In 2014 Michael Boeglin parked his truck for the night just a few hundred feet from the guard shack at the receiver he was delivering to in Detroit, MI. That receiver did not permit overnight parking inside the safety of their fenced property. On adjacent property a small abandoned parking lot presented an option for him located approximately 200 feet from the receiver’s unstaffed guard shack and he parked there. News reports state that around midnight he spoke with his wife (who was pregnant with their child). At some point in the early morning of the 27th he was shot to death and his truck set on fire.
I am intimately familiar with the exact load Michael was hauling, having picked up the same load from the same facility and delivered it there in Detroit probably 50 times over an 8 year period. The shipper in Kentucky welcomes overnight parking and provides access to restrooms for truckers. While the receiver in Detroit was an excellent facility to be unloaded at, they do not permit overnight parking on their property. A search in a typical truck stop directory or app would have only listed a couple locations in Detroit for parking with neither being known for desirable facilities and only one of them offering (somewhat) secure parking.
Shippers and receivers who permit parking are a clear solution and thankfully some do, but unfortunately many do not for a variety of reasons. Over-the-road truckers rely upon truck stops and rest areas very often, but are faced with challenges. If Michael had left that receiver to search for parking the result would likely be one location after another being full. However a Truck Parking Information Management System which is tied into truck stops and rest areas could provide information to inform a driver of available spaces. Being able to reserve a space could ensure that a trucker has a viable option before leaving that receiver. Especially in large urban areas such as Detroit creating, identifying and making available new capacity is at least an equally important solution.
Just over 2,000 feet from where Michael’s life ended in 2014 is the entrance to Oasis Trucking Center which provides a truly secure truck parking facility. This facility, opened in 2016, represents new capacity for truckers and via the RigRest platform they can reserve a secure space at that facility and a growing list of locations around the country. Those locations represent additional new capacity as well as existing facilities which may now offer reservations to ensure a space will be available. The state of Michigan now offers real-time parking availability information for all rest areas and many truck stops across I-94. While none of these changes can reverse the tragedy in 2014 they do show movement in the right direction to help prevent another situation like the one Michael found himself in on that night.
Scott Grenerth is part of the TSPS team and while he primarily drives a desk today (but does occasionally utilize his CDL) he has over a million accident-free miles behind the wheel of over-the-road trucking experience.
He can be found helping to lead initiatives with the FHWA Truck Parking Coalition, providing input (and listening to concerns) at Truck Parking Roundtables around the country and working with TSPS customers to provide truck parking solutions.