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It’s time to weigh in on the truck parking problem

By: sschnipper February 21, 2024

We all know that truck parking is a problem. Drive down any U.S. highway and you will undoubtedly see trucks parked on the side of the road, on entrance and exit ramps, on access roads to rest facilities, etc. The simple fact is there are not enough parking spaces for the number of drivers that need to take their mandatory Hours of Service breaks.

How bad is the problem? For the third year in a row, truck parking was the No. 1 concern of truck drivers, according to the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) annual Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry study.

Statistics show that there is one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road, and the Federal Highway Administration estimates there is a nationwide shortage of more than 40,000 truck parking spaces. I know not every truck will need to park at the same time, but it is likely that more than one truck will need a spot to park at any given time.

That is why I was happy to see a recent announcement that the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which was introduced earlier this year, took another step toward becoming a reality when it advanced in the House of Representatives recently. The bill would authorize funding for truck parking through 2026—$755 million over the next three years.

Truck parking is a safety issue for both truck drivers and the motoring public, and we need to treat it as such. It is also a productivity issue. In order to find legal and safe parking, many drivers begin looking for a space to park well before their hours of service are up. ATRI reports that the average driver is spending 56 minutes of their available driving time looking for parking.  The cost of searching for parking typically is approximately $5,500, or 12% of a driver’s annual income.

To address the problem, there are several states that are providing up-to-the-minute parking information to truck drivers via a Truck Parking Information Management System. Some truck stop chains are adding parking spaces to their facilities and/or allowing truckers to reserve parking spaces which eliminates the anxiety associated with finding parking.

Each of us should be supporting efforts to address the parking shortage issue. If you have not already contacted your Congressional representative about supporting the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, I encourage you to do so.