Returning to the American Transportation Research Institute”s (ATRI) top issues of 2017, this week we will examine the number 4 issue: truck parking.
Truck parking (or lack thereof) is an issue that affects almost everyone in the industry. This is a top five issue in relation to the industry as a whole. But it ranks even higher among driver’s themselves. In a survey conducted by ATRI, they found that for drivers personally, truck parking is the second biggest issue in their professional life.
The parking shortage can be dangerous too. Many drivers resort to parking in unsafe locations such as highway shoulders and ramps. Almost half of drivers report that the parking shortage leads them to park in this way three to seven times a week.
In 2009, a driver named Jason Rivenburg was killed in South Carolina after being forced to park in a dangerous area. This law established 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 (United States Public Law).”
The hope was that legislation would fix the issue and make sure that no one gets hurt due to lack of parking again. So far, however, this clearly has not been the case.
There are many factors that have made the problem of truck parking worse in recent years.
During the recession, our economy was sluggish and aggregate demand was lower than average. As a result, many truck stops went out of business. Data suggests that many of those stops never opened their doors back up. This has been a major contributor to the shortage of trucker parking.
The ELD mandate has been another major factor. These mandates leave no room for truckers to find adequate parking, as these stops are difficult to preplan. A study has shown that commercial drivers using electronic logs were twice as likely to spend 30 minutes or more to find parking than those using paper logs (ATRI).
Lack of information also aggravates this issue. There are thousands of truck stops scattered around the United States. We don’t currently have any centralized method of monitoring capacity and traffic at these stops. This means that a driver is rolling the dice every time she/he pulls up to a stop.
The most popular solution by those surveyed by ATRI is to support and encourage investment in new truck parking facilities. This approach is especially relevant, because funding for truck stops and rest areas is usually one of the first items that is cut during periods of budget shortfalls (ATRI). ATRI’s “Highway Funding Analysis” has shown that an increase of the fuel tax would be efficient and effective in paying for these new projects.
Other solutions may include creating rest areas that only have parking. These lots would get the job done for many drivers and would also be cheap to build and maintain. Another suggestion is to provide incentives for big box stores such as Walmart to be more friendly to truckers looking to park in their lots.
This is an issue that we at Personal Care Transport care about deeply. Almost all of the drivers who we work with have been affected in some way by the parking shortage.
Personal Care Transport is the only company in Pennsylvania that is licensed to transport truck drivers. With over four years of experience, Personal Care has built close relations with men and women in the industry. We have a deep understanding of the training process. Use Personal Care Services for all your trucking-related transportation needs.