CEDAR LAKE | At it stands now, a commercial trucker who lives in Cedar Lake can't park the rig at home.
He or she can't even bring home the rig's cab, known as a bobtail, for the time it takes to visit with family or take a shower, Town Councilman Greg Parker said.
Parker, who has spent 25 years in the trucking industry, would like to change that.
At last week's study session, Parker suggested the laws either be softened or changed, so that local truckers don't face constant ticketing and can travel back and forth from home more conveniently.
Currently, they have to leave the rig and take another vehicle home, or get a ride.
Council President Randy Niemeyer, who runs a trucking business, agreed. Councilman John Foreman did not.
The few truck drivers who were in the audience joined the discussion. The dialogue covered points such as what truck parking in the neighborhoods might do to home values and road conditions to whether the current ordinance is unfriendly to working-class residents.
Fining a truck driver who takes his or her bobtail home "amounts to a tax on the working man," Parker said.
Foreman disagreed, at first saying that allowing trucks on residential roads would be too hard on the pavement.
Parker said if a trucker only brought the cab home, it would minimize how much wear and tear might take place.
"(But) if I buy a $300,000 house, I'm not going to want (a truck) parked in my neighborhood," Foreman said.
There also is the potential for diesel leaks, he said.
"That is histrionics," Niemeyer said in response to Foreman's comment.
Sharon Zuniga, of Cedar Lake, who was in the audience, said she drives a truck, but she also drives a motorcycle and a Jaguar.
"I find (your comments) very prejudiced," she told Foreman.
He wasn't trying to show prejudice, Foreman said, but "I stand by my comments." Trucks can tear up roads, break curbs and cause other problems, he said.
Parker said no one is suggesting truck cabs be parked permanently in neighborhoods, but town ordinance could be tweaked so it is not such a burden on blue-collar residents.
Other town officials suggested Cedar Lake could follow the lead of neighboring communities such as Crown Point, which allows some leeway for bringing a cab home as long as the cab is parked behind the house.