10-4 October Safety Brief
The Parking Crisis
Locating a safe parking spot has been a stressor for truck drivers for more than a decade. With the ELD mandate and states closing some rest areas to cut costs, the issue is becoming more prominent. With approximately 400,000 parking spots to accommodate the roughly 3 million trucks on the road daily, this has become a major source of frustration for drivers. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has reported that drivers are spending as much as an hour of drive time trying to find a safe place to park. These problems are merely the tip of the iceberg. Lack of parking factors into every aspect of driving from safety to driver retention.
Not One Single Fix
There is not a simple fix to this problem. There are many different ideas that if put together could help tremendously with the parking shortage. You might wonder why interstate rest areas don’t expand or in some cases, reopen. Public rest areas offer little help since they do not sell meals, offer showers or have electricity for the trucks and federal law prevents them from being commercialized. Most states have banned parking on the on/off ramps and the sides of the highways. Many municipalities have passed laws that prohibit truck parking and even ban truck stops from expanding. This causes your drivers to have to find rural truck stops and burn additional fuel and time doing so. This leaves only a few viable options for the immediate future. Changes to zoning laws, financial incentives to build more parking and working with shippers to allow overnight parking are all options being discussed and hopefully more parking spots are on the horizon.
What Can We Do
Some major chain truck stops have begun offering reserved parking for members such as Travel Centers of America and Pilot Flying J with the use of mobile apps. TruckerPath is a mobile application that allows drivers to report open spaces. These technological advances will certainly help however, they will not create more spaces. Several state DOT’s are working together to find a solution but until one is found planning is the key. Trip planning will be a necessity, especially with the winter months approaching. If your drivers properly plan their trips they can alleviate some of this stress by sticking closely to the plan.