One of the biggest issues in trucking is finding a place to park. It’s a top complaint from drivers in the industry. In a survey from the American Transportation Research Institute, parking tied for their number one issue, along with compensation, according to an article in TruckingInfo.com. Although the truck parking shortage is not a new issue, it is an ever increasing one. With more freight to move and more trucks on the road, finding a place to park for over-the-road drivers has become nearly impossible. The issue is not just about convenience, it’s about safety.
As the demand for more and more freight increases, so do the number of trucks on the road. “Ultimately, the pervasive truck parking shortage can be explained with simple math- there are about 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States and approximately 313,000 truck parking spaces nationally; for every 11 drivers, there is one truck parking space,” according to an article in TruckingInfo.com.
Commercial drivers are required to follow Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), that limits driving time to 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
Truck drivers are forced to find parking in order to stay compliant with HOS regulations. With the shortage of parking many drivers get stuck parking in unsafe areas and often, illegally alongside roadways, on interstate off and on ramps etc.
An article by TheTrucker.com states, “Hope Rivenburg – whose husband, Jason, a truck driver, was robbed, then murdered while parked in what turned out to be an unsafe location – has worked to highlight commercial truck parking needs and to enact federal legislation that would improve parking conditions. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century legislation, dubbed “Jason’s Law” after Jason Rivenburg, was established to provide a “national priority on addressing the shortage of long-term parking for commercial motor vehicles on the National Highway System (NHS) to improve the safety of motorized and non-motorized users and for commercial motor vehicle operators.”
“Specifically, Jason’s Law requires DOT to conduct a survey and comparative assessment in consultation with relevant State motor carrier representatives. The 2019 Jason’s Law Report found that 98% of truck drivers regularly experience problems finding safe parking. That’s a 23% increase from the 2015 report.”
The article goes on to say that both the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg “urging infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds be prioritized to boost the nation’s truck parking capacity”.
The group goes on to state that, “If the DOT prioritizes the expansion of truck parking capacity and makes significant progress toward that effort, drivers will be safer and healthier, fleets will be more productive, the trucking workforce will be more resilient, and trucks will reduce their fuel needs and emit fewer emissions into the environment. All these benefits would be passed on to the average American in the form of lower prices, greater availability of goods and a cleaner planet.”
Although legislation has been introduced in March of 2021, to improve the truck parking shortage, it has stalled in Congress. The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act would authorize appropriations through FY2026 to the Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide parking for commercial motor vehicles on the federal-aid highway system. DOT must provide competitive grants to states, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and certain public agencies for projects that provide parking for commercial motor vehicles on federal-aid highways or on a facility with reasonable access to such a highway or a freight facility. The federal share for a project carried out in accordance with the bill must be 100%.
Contact your local representative and let them know you support H.R.2187 – Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act.