Will you be a traffic ticket victim?

author image

August 6, 2010

By Bob Difley

parking-ticketI’ve received a couple emails from Rvers who have pulled into Utah rest stops and stayed overnight finding a ticket in excess of $400 on their windshield. Is this just in Utah, or is it happening in other states as well? I have no real evidence, but if any of you have any first hand experience with receiving  tickets while sleeping in rest stops, please add your comments below.

With funds drying up and states desperate for money, is it possible that they are reaching for income wherever they can find it? If so, it would be good to alert RVers out there on the road. One source said that truckers were not being ticketed nor are people sleeping in cars.

So do authorities feel that rich RVers with those big motorhomes and fifth wheels won’t complain,  or put up a stink about getting a ticket–and probably aren’t even voters in that state anyway. And if it is true, and we don’t react or try to do something about being singled out for ransom, than we deserve to be the hapless victims of extortion.

Another RVer emailed me that he has run into several people that supposedly have lost their jobs and homes and are squatting out on public lands. I can understand their dilemma, and don’t begrudge them trying to survive. However, this RVer also said that one of them had thrown trash all over the campsite and was dumping his tanks right out on the ground.

trash_campsite_0930He took a video–which included their license plate and turned it over to a Ranger. Trashing of a campsite on public lands will eventually affect all of us in several ways. Popular boondocking areas could be closed off from camping. Clean up or “site maintenance” fees could be charged to clear trash from boondocking areas. Boondocking sites could become so trashy that we won’t want to camp on public lands. And the BLM might decide to charge a seasonal fee for camping/boondocking on public lands even outside the LTVAs where camping fees are now collected.

Ignorance of people who are not really RVers–who wouldn’t do such dastardly deeds–cannot be the sole reason for their actions, and maybe they need to be reminded what the results could be. Should we, as responsible RVers, poke our noses into their business?  Would it be prudent to ask them to not trash their site, and explain what the ramifications are? Or do we report them to ranger and have him handle it? What do you think?

For tips and articles on the RV Lifestyle, visit my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, and when you’re not busy out picking up somebody else’s trash, check out my ebooks, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands and 111 Ways to get the Biggest Bang from your RV Lifestyle Dollar.

Leave a Reply


  1. Pingback: Cialis Online

  2. Pingback: CoD2

  3. Good write-up, I’m normal visitor of one’s site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.

  4. Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely wonderful. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really a wonderful web site.

  5. Good day! I simply would like to give a huge thumbs up for the good info you’ve gotten here on this post. I can be coming again to your blog for extra soon.

  6. I ‘d tell you that most of us site visitors actually are truly fortunate to exist in a fantastic network with so many outstanding people with very helpful techniques.

  7. Just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that i have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. any way i’ll be subscribing to your feed and i hope you post again soon.

  8. Terrific work! This is the type of info that should be shared around the internet. Shame on Google for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my web site . Thanks =)

  9. Good blog! I truly love how it is easy on my eyes it is. I’m wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your RSS feed which may do the trick? Have a nice day!

  10. Pingback: computer galway

  11. I together with my friends have already been analyzing the nice things on your website and then unexpectedly got an awful suspicion I had not thanked the website owner for them. Those men are already as a result thrilled to learn all of them and have without a doubt been having fun with these things. Thank you for getting simply thoughtful and also for utilizing this kind of outstanding guides most people are really needing to be aware of. My sincere regret for not saying thanks to you sooner.

  12. Pingback: seo expert services

  13. Pingback: www

  14. Stripes

    @Kellie, the last time I “overnight parked” at a rest stop I had a spot at a KOA about 3 hours drive away already payed for. I just decided I wasn’t safe to drive for 3 more hours.

    In this case “overnight parked” was from about 5am until maybe 9am (I had set an alarm for 7:20am, but for technical reasons it didn’t go off). I assume that enforcement of “overnight” is “there in the morning when the ranger checks” and not “there from sunset to sunrise”, and I stood the risk of being ticketed for overnight parking even given a stay of less then 150min…

    Come to think of it, the “last time” is the only time so far. I’ll try to execute my departure plans better so I don’t have to do that again (I had planned on leaving around 8pm, but didn’t get to leave until more like 1am). However if it comes to a choice of park for a “nap length” stop somewhere where I’m not allowed to overnight, or drive unsafe due to lack of sleep, I’ll take my chances with the ticket. Better to have a chance of a ticket then a significant chance of an accident.

  15. Just my two cents worth. Most of our travel is Texas to Florida and return. I have on occasion when convoying with family stayed overnight at a camp ground. But mostly we use rest areas because our interests are at the end of the trip. We have never had a problem getting a nights sleep at a rest stop. I think it amounts to being a responsible person. On different trips, we have stopped at the welcome center in Mississippi (west) which has two large parking areas one primarily for the truckers. Once, when it was almost full and we were not familiar with the stop, we were escorted to the second “big rig” area by an attendent in a golf cart. Another time, when the trucker parking area was filling fast and early at a park in Louisiana, we were given a golf cart guide through the rest stop to a picnic area with a narrow road that had little pull-offs at each picnic table. Guide stayed until we were sure we were off the road and safe. At the Alabama Welcome site, sign clearly stated no over night parking. Talked to the night security who recognized I had been in the RV and he said it was OK to stay: that restriction was used to keep the rough party people out. Finally, as mentioned above, Florida. We usually stop at one of the big rest areas just south of Jacksonville. There is always lots of room and I have not had any problems there. Just be nice I think is the answer.

  16. Bruce shand


    For me, convenience when on the way to somewhere else when you haven’t planned out every single night.

  17. Kellie

    I don’t understand why RVers WANT to sleep in rest stops. Don’t you enjoy parks and campgrounds? Are you too cheap to pay the fee? What is the attraction?

  18. Bruce shand

    Geez! I didn’t detect rigidity in Diffey’s article at all. He presented the info in a questioning rather than accusatory manner. So I don’t get why some of you seem to have a hard on for Diffey.

  19. Jock Bliss

    On boondocking and trashing: not everyone who travels or lives in an RV is an authentic RVer. Far too many people are pseudo-RVers. The real ones know that people who trash ARE themselves trash.

  20. Jock Bliss

    While driving through Illinois on I-80, we stopped at a rest area which was staffed, and asked the attendant about stopping overnight. It was sometime after 8:00pm.
    He said, “Well, technically we do not allow overnight stopping…but we’d a lot rather have you pull off and stop for the night than have you driving down the highway in danger of falling asleep.”
    So we stopped. Overnight. No problem. So at least in Illinois, even though overnights are technically verboten, the people aren’t brutally zealous about enforcement.
    Same thing happened to us in New Mexico, on another long haul. The rest area was unmanned, but a Park Ranger happened by while we were pit-stopping, on I-25 between Albuquerque and Las Cruces (miles and miles or nothing but miles and miles. He said much the same thing, told us where the next southbound rest area was, and suggested that we probably ought to stop here or there for the night.
    Course, I would kind of expect Utah to be a whole ‘nother thing!

  21. Tex

    Cute Gabby Hayes avatar. I don’t think I stuttered, though when I said “rigid slant of the author”. You read it correctly, and that’s just what was meant. These authors on this site openly invite and welcome people to read their blogs, AND to provide comments. Surely your own ‘intellectual rigor’ has discovered that part in these blogs, yes?

    And surely you saw the part where I appreciated the feedback from Joeseph, so you needn’t also chime in with the same message, as the point was already taken. Methinks you are a ‘piler-on’ kind of person.

    If you don’t like the comments, it’s easy; you don’t have to read them. Geez.



  22. Francis

    Rigid slant of the author??! Methinks the rigidity is yours “Tex”. Rants like that are of no benefit to anyone and display the intellectual rigor of a jerking knee. Don’t like the man’s personal politics? Fine, it is really quite easy: don’t read his blog posts. Any point you may have had is lost in your shrill whining.

  23. Tex

    Point taken. Admittedly, I felt intellectually insulted, once again, by the rigid slant of the author.
    Thanks for the feedback.



  24. Joeseph


    I’m not sure the style of your rant will will much support, but the substance echos something that occurred to me when I read the post.

    In the first instance (overnight camping), the people breaking the law are victims and law enforcement was greedy and just trying to raise revenue. (*)

    In the second instance (making a mess on public lands), the people breaking the law are horrible and law enforcement help is needed to save the day.

    I’m not sure what to make of the dichotomy, but I did notice. On the other hand, any legitimate substance in your post was drowned out by poor style.

    -Safe travels –

    (*) – if we can assume there was a proper reason for the tickets in the first place. We don’t seem to have enough info to know.

  25. Geoffrey Pruett

    We dry camp most of the time with our Class A and do our best to leave no footprints behind, even picking up after those who are less carefull. Have used the truck side as a nap site numerous times but am carefull to park of to the side if it is busy. You only have to try getting thru a supermarket parking lot with a trailer one time to understand the truckers problems. People who have not driven a big rig seem to be blind to turn clearances and this includes vacationers with RV’s. Just returned from a Square Dance Club campout in a small town off the cell tower range(a blessing) with over 60 people in units from tents to 40 ft DP,s and when we left the area was as clean as when we arrived. Courtesy is one of the most stressed parts of being a dancer and it carries over into leaving no footprint behind. We have been there several years and are always welcomed back including taking over the common buildings for several meals as we clean up, sometimes leaving the area cleaner than when we arrive. Guests who behave like guests are usually welcomed back.

  26. Tex

    Re: your assertion stating: “I’ve received a couple emails from Rvers who have pulled into Utah rest stops and stayed overnight finding a ticket in excess of $400 on their windshield. I have no real evidence”

    Mr. Dilfey: Son, please stop inciting people to react to pointless assertions of yours when you have no real evidence of any meaningful new idea. You have literally no bona-fide evidence of anything you are claiming here, young man, and you have no credible testimony from anyone whom you are man enough to cite by name.

    The only thing you present to support your blather is “a couple of emails” undocumented and unattributed from a couple of unidentified and upsupported “rvers”. That is consistent with your lack of evidentiary support for the rest of your blog. You and your opinions truly represent a very small portion of the Calimexcican community of RV enthusiasts in which you live, but not the rest of us in this country!

    Many of us are just T-I-R-E-D of your sloppy presentation of the merits of boondocking, or “living off the grid”. What you present instead is a slothful discourse of some sort of righteousness of the lifestyle of living off the contributions of others. You really need to read up on, and take seriously, the foundation documents of this country. Really, my friend.

    Seriously. There are thousands of RVrs who enjoy boondocking’s pleasures without your sense of self-righteousness and governmental entitlements. We just love the sense of freedom to enjoy natural venues that God gave us. Forget the opposition to our institutions. The Sheriffs, the Highway Patrol, the State government discussion. OK?

    It would be refreshing to hear you simply dealing with the abusers, not the enforcers of our laws, young man.

    Best Regards,

  27. Kaperking

    Let the rangers handle the problem after you have reported it. People who trash sites or where ever they stay should be considered a bit off and maybe dangerous.

    Thanks for the heads up on Utah…

  28. Gary Illingworth

    With regard to tickets, beware of Oklahoma’s “Pike” Pass, which, unlike other states’ honoring of EZPass windshield transmitters, does not honor them. Although their montoring equipment is very modern, a “Pike” Pass will not be honored when passing under the detection systems at highway speeds – and there is no way to know that you will get a ticket for each barrier you drive under in the mail to welcome you when you return from your trip. My ‘D’ goes to Oklahoma for this type of highway trap for tourists. For each toll, you have to pull over, stop and pay. This is tedious, but it is OK as long as you know that the widnshield transmitters will not work, as they do in every other state I’ve visited.

  29. Larry

    I have to agree about tired RVers, but how about tired truckers? As a retired trucker for 30 something years, there have been too many nights I have pulled into a rest area with my eyes falling out of my head from fatigue only to find the rest area full of mostly RVs and a few trucks with no room for me to stop and grab a few hours of shuteye thereby forcing me to drive on while using a few choice words for inconsiderate RVers who wouldn’t find a place in a town or something. Come on, people! An eighteen wheeler can’t park just anywhere that an RV can, plus you folks should find a place in the last town you drove thru because you aren’t on a tight schedule and you don’t have to conform to strict D.O.T. rules & regulations about driving hours. Heck, you don’t even have to keep a log book and can drive as many hours as you feel big enough to do with no one to ask to see your logbook and best of all, you can drive one of those really big ones using your class C car license. I have always thought that if someone was going to drive one of those big ones that they should at least be required to have a class B license with an air brake endorsement on it if the rig is equipped with air brakes. Dump truck drivers are required to have a Class B with air brake endorsement and dump trucks are no bigger than you are.

  30. nikki

    My family drove across the State of Oregon into Idaho, and it was so dark and we were so exhausted, we turned around and went back over into Oregon to a Rest Stop and slept. Didn’t see any signs, and left early when we heard the Semi’s start leaving. There were many Long-haul drivers parked for the night. We usually park in the “Semi” area as opposed to the “car” area. The Park attendants arrive early in the morning, but no one to moniter at night. If we had gotten the ticket and there were No Signs saying it is illegal…..we would dispute that for sure.

  31. Willi Boy

    In NC, we always read the “no camping” signs, at the rest areas. Well, my wife finally decided to call them on it (literally). She called the Dept of safety, and asked about the length of stay in the rest areas. No problem, the woman said. We got her name, and stayed the night (I-95 north, about an hour from the VA boarder). Another time, forgot which stae, but think it was SC, we went in and asked the attendant if it was alright to park the night. No problem. This is just to keep the people from overstaying their welcome, he said. We stayed both times w/ no problems. Utah, I don’t know, but being retired I’d take the time to challenge it. Truckers can only drive “X” amount of hours, then MUST pull off the road, for a certain amount of time. Why discriminate against tired RV’rs ?

  32. Roger

    All the conjecture in the world will never resolve the question.

    NMA http://www.motorists.org/ may be able to help by directing those who receive similar tickets to sources which will help them mount an appropriate defense.

    Until someone actually goes to court and pleads not guilty and get a ruling on how long is too long a rest, no one will be able to know what the law really means.

  33. Walt Augustyn

    If you intend to try and sleep at a roadside rest area find the attendant at that location and find out if it is OK for a period of time. Then, get his name in case of a problem afterwards.

  34. catchesthewind

    Just to throw a log in the fire-Folks may want to join the NATIONAL MOTORIST ASSOCIATION. Their address is 402 W 2nd Street, Waunakee, WI 53597.
    They can give excellent advice in the area of camera violations and other ills that plague the motoring public.
    On the other issue, no matter how broke you are or if you are homeless it is just common decency to keep your campsite clean.

  35. hoppe

    And by the way. Those tickets are called revenue makers. Written a lot more frequently these days, as, they probably don’t want to be the next on the chopping block. Tax revenue is WAY Down.

  36. hoppe

    I imagine that if they are squatting on Public Lands they may be more worried about where and when the next meal is. Most probably consider themselves luck to have a toilet and holding tanks.

    Some of course are SLOBS pure and simple

    Was broke a time or two but never homeless. Didn’t use to have respect for anyone that didn’t have a job cause I had no t trouble finding one. It’s a bit different now however. If we hadn’t been lucky enough to have the years for retirement, we could have been SOL right now. Fortunately the briar patch doesn’t have a great many thorns so far but it does leave you with a bit of a head problem when there isn’t a job waiting. NOT even a job you hate!

    Be a little nicer and maybe others will be nicer to you.

  37. Bob The wife and I travel all over the country in our trailer and F-350. We stay alot at truck stops when we are driving more than 1 stop before a campground just to get there faster and I have to fill up anyways so it does help.. I don’t know of anybody else that does this too.. But I can drive again after 5 or 6 hours of sleep..:)

  38. David McCracken

    While Boondocking in KOFA we did find areas where people had built a camp fire and burned some of their trash,which is OK I guess, but they left the tin cans and beer bottles in the ashes and went away. We did remove the remains and let a passing ranger know about it. I think notifying Rangers of the problems, the better chance they have of controlling the situation.

  39. Peter Darrach

    Bob, I think you are anticipating the impossible if you think telling a garbage, and worse, dropper will listen to you and change their ways. Let the Rangers look after it.

  40. Bob

    It’s interesting that no one mentioned the problem with trashing campsites. Anyway, If it were me I’d report to the ranger and let them handle it. It’s a safety thing, you just never know how that “camper” might react.

  41. John D. Peters

    Joan and I have driven in almost every one of the 3077 Counties in the USA. There are GUIDES for all states listing the rest stop rules. They usually have a time limit and other rules. A few states allow overnight camping and have water, sewer, and parking areas. Some states have short time limits and they are intended for NAPS by tired drivers. I suspect every state has different rules which you should read before using their rest areas.

    Sometimes the Highway patrol will knock and ask if you’re alright!

    Rest areas are not competing with RV Parks. Try PASSPORT USA for cheap spots to camp.

  42. Joeseph

    It’s unclear, to be sure.

    For the statement I quoted, it seems like they are trying to give responsible sleepers the benefit of the doubt.

    I guess that’s what I’m getting at. Have they changed their policy and neglected to update their website, or is there more to the story and the ‘campers’ were abusing the policy?

    I have no idea, but it would be nice to know. Thanks for bringing up the issue.

  43. Joseph – It also brings up the issue of how “overnight camping” is defined. Is sleeping overnight in an 18-wheeler or the back seat of a car not camping, but sleeping in an RV is? If you sleep on the couch instead of in your bed, is that then not camping? And as Michael points out the Utah sign regarding overnight parking, what is overnight parking? If you stop at 11:59PM and sleep until 8AM, is that overnight parking, but 12:01AM until 8AM not?

  44. Joeseph

    Interesting quote from the Utah DOT Rest Areas webpage:

    “Utah encourages drowsy drivers to take a break. Rest areas are provided to the traveling public for this purpose. All rest areas are posted for no overnight camping. However, extended stays are permitted and are monitored by the on-site staff and the Highway Patrol.”

    I have to wonder if the policy has changed, or if there is more to the story (like a 5-hr time limit or maybe those with tickets were there on consecutive days?).

  45. Michael Davis

    If I’m not mistaken there are signs that state no over night parking at almost every reststop in Utah