Truckers need and deserve safe parking. Shipping and receiving facilities are sometimes in very bad neighborhoods. When there isn’t a safe place to park, drivers may be mugged, beat up or have their equipment damaged. Between 2010 and 2014, 40 big-rig drivers were killed while working, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. And homicides are only part of the problem. Truck cargo thefts occur at the rate of at least twice daily; 86% of those when commercial vehicles are parked in unsecured location such as public parking and truck trailer drop lots.
The issue of safe and adequate parking has been an issue for decades. The FMCSA has conducted studies on the issue. One study, “Commercial Driver Rest and Parking Requirements” was originally conducted in 1996 and was updated in 2014. The study found that there are 1700 miles of interstate highway that are not within 30 miles of a truck stop or rest area. Some drivers choose to ignore important Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) hours-of-service rules so they can keep driving until a legal and safe parking spot is available. The shortage of parking suitable for commercial motor vehicles puts tired drivers in a bad position.
The FHWA has established the National Coalition on Truck Parking. So far, several major trucking organizations, such as the American Trucking Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have joined the coalition. The coalition is looking at concerns such as why $231M in parking projects across the U.S. have been submitted, but only $34M has been allocated. Most of the $34M ($20M) has been awarded to pay for intelligent transportation systems technology that alerts drivers when parking spaces are available through in-cab messaging notification systems. Some drivers advocate for cities to change zoning laws to permit additional commercial vehicle parking accessibility. Other advocates want shippers to take more responsibility and allow truckers to park in their lots when resting or waiting.
Clearly, the truck driver parking shortage remains a stubborn issue that just won’t go away. Trucker parking shortage is costing the trucking industry time, money and productivity, not to mention the risk for drivers in terms of stress, fatigue, security for their equipment and, most importantly, their personal safety.
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