Oklahoma, California Top Truckers’ List for Most/Least Trucking-friendly States

During the Dust Bowl days, many people left depressed Oklahoma for promises of a better life in California. But today, truckers, at least, find Oklahoma to be the promised land and California to be a depressing place when it comes to moving freight in the respective states.

In a recent survey of Truckers News readers, California’s strict transportation laws and tough enforcement practices landed the state atop the list for being the least trucking-friendly. Oklahoma, on the other hand, was touted as being the most trucking-friendly in regard to regulations and fees.

When asked which state they believe has the most trucking-friendly regulations and fees, 13 percent of truckers polled pick Oklahoma, with Texas a close second at 11 percent. On the flip side, truckers overwhelmingly tap California – 36 percent – as having the least trucking-friendly regulations and fees. Ohio finished second with 22 percent.

“Oklahoma has the cheapest base plates,” says John Clawson, an owner-operator from Joplin, Mo. “California has the different speed limits and fines that seem to be higher than in other states.”

The survey shows Oklahoma (6 percent) to be second for the most trucking-friendly enforcement personnel, behind Texas (8 percent). Keeping with the trend, California (23 percent) falls just behind Ohio (31 percent) for the least trucking-friendly enforcement personnel.

“I run Oklahoma plates, and Oklahoma is an easy state to run through,” says Eddie Giles, an owner-operator from Narrows, Va. “They don’t bother you as long as your log book is OK. The California DOT doesn’t give you any breathing room. I used to run California, but I don’t anymore because of the hassle. But Ohio is about as bad as California. They don’t have any personality.”

Truckers News also polled drivers on the best and worst states for overnight parking. Texas and Kentucky top the list for best overnight parking. “Texas is pretty good, but the majority of the rest areas only hold about 10 truckers,” says Ken Metzler of Ellis, Kan., who drives for Crete. Bob Gobar, an owner-operator from Hazen, N.D., feels Pennsylvania, which is fourth with 7.4 percent, is among the best places to park after dark. “Pennsylvania has wide places along the roadsides where I see a lot of trucks parked, and the police don’t seem to bother them. I’ve even seen the police parked behind trucks along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, watching the traffic.”

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Virginia and New Jersey are considered to have the worst overnight parking. Truckers say both states lack adequate overnight parking spaces. Virginia’s $85 fines for parking along exit ramps and New Jersey’s restrictions on idling also play a part in the problem. Giles agrees with the finding, but says he has to give his home state credit for at least working to improve the overnight parking situation. “I have to compliment Virginia on one thing. They have two or three trucks-only rest areas. They are at least trying,” he says.

More than 1,400 truckers took part in the survey. Approximately 57 percent responding were company drivers, 40 percent owner-operators and the remainder were driving instructors or other. The margin of error is 2.8 percent.