By Gino Fontana
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Transervice
As originally appeared in FleetOwner Magazine’s IdeaXchange
Truck parking—or rather lack of truck parking—is an issue the industry has been wrestling with for some time. It seems like every day we hear about how difficult it is for truck drivers to find safe parking. The situation is so bad that some drivers are driving beyond their legal Hours of Service to find safe parking. Some are shutting down for the day early if they find a safe parking spot within the last hour of their legal driving hours rather than risk not finding a space closer to the expiration of those hours. Others get so frustrated with the lack of parking that they are parking in unsafe locations like the shoulder of the road.
Just how bad is the situation?
The American Trucking Associations says that there are more than 11 drivers for every one parking space. Studies show that on average drivers spend nearly an hour of driving time everyday trying to find parking and 58% of drivers say they have parked in unauthorized places at least three times a week. The search for legal parking is also costing drivers on average 12% of their potential annual pay.
To address this problem back in 2019 the Mid-American Association of Transportation Officials began an initiative to deploy information about real-time parking space availability in high volume freight corridors in eight Midwest states. This has already been implemented in 18 rest stops along Interstates 70, 75 and U.S. Route 33 in Ohio. This real-time information on parking spot availability is a good first step in trying to solve the parking shortage but is not the complete solution.
Earlier this year, House members Mike Boost (R-Illinois) and Angie Craig (D-Minnesota) introduced the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. The goal of the act is to earmark existing Department of Transportation money to create more safe parking spaces for trucks. Since its introduction, the act has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Highway and Transit.
While being notified about parking space availability will help ease drivers’ concerns about parking availability, having more safe, legal parking available is what is needed so that drivers are not forced to park on road shoulders, in parking lots of abandoned buildings, etc.
The COVID-19 pandemic reminded people of just how vital trucking and truckers are in our lives. I hope our legislators will remember that when they are considering whether to fund the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act and will act to make sure money is allocated to build more public truck parking facilities and to upgrade and expand existing public parking spaces.
Now would be a good time to contact your representatives and encourage them to support this act for the safety of all of us using the roads.
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