It didn’t take the News4 I-Team long to find it.

On a tip from the owners of trucking companies, we set out on the overnight hours to see if we could find what they say is a major indicator of why your morning and evening commutes seem to be longer this year.

It wasn’t hard to find: rows and rows of semis parked alongside the interstate illegally.

Paul Roark, the owner of a Middle Tennessee trucking company, said there’s a reason they’ve parked there: there’s simply no room anywhere else.

 “We run out of parking. Truck stops can only hold so many,” Roark said.

So how does that translate to you having a longer rush hour?

A News4 I-Team investigation found that the owners of trucking companies complaining that new federally mandated tracking devices means they all now drive during your rush hour, which they used to avoid.

Truck drivers say those tracking devices means they must adhere to old rules about only driving eleven continuous hours a day, all to avoid tired drivers.

 Drivers tell the I-Team they used to break up the day and sit out rush hours and make up for it overnight, but the electronic tracking devices means they risk fines if they break up their day.

Those same drivers said further proof of how many of them are driving during rush hours and then all stopping is obvious on the interstate late at night.

Instead of driving overnight, they’re all parking, and running out of room to stop and sleep.

“When you're in a major metropolitan area, what do you do? Nowhere to park but the side of the road,” Roark said.

The News4 I-Team asked Adrienne Gildea, deputy executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, said the lack of overnight parking for semi drivers isn’t a new problem.

Gildea said the new monitoring by the electronic tracking devices may be making the problem worse.

“It's not a new issue. Potentially, the increase compliance with the requirements could be exacerbating it,” Gildea said.

On October 16, a driver, for unknown reasons, crashed into a parked semi on the shoulder of I-24 in Whites Creek.

Police told News4 the reason the driver had stopped was to sleep.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the News4 I-Team's Chief Investigative Reporter. He has won multiple Midsouth Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Awards.

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