Dec 14, 2017

By:

Omnitracs

One issue that’s currently getting a lot of attention in the trucking industry is the shortage of truck parking, especially in the Western states. Here’s a brief overview of the problem.  

Why has this become such a controversial issue? 

As the national conversation has become more focused on American infrastructure over the past year, the problem of inadequate truck parking has received more attention. 

This interest is further fueled by the fact that many professional associations, like the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the American Transportation Research Institute, have been conducting research on the lack of truck parking. Like any problem, this issue has (at least) two sides.

Cities and businesses generally don’t want to invest in truck parking.

On one side of the issue are cities and businesses. 

Businesses are often hesitant to encourage truck drivers to use their parking lots because that means less parking for cars — and therefore, for their customers. In addition, some business owners believe that truck drivers will leave garbage behind or park inconsiderately, making their parking lots unpleasant for customers.

City and county governments, too, are often against offering truck parking due to the cost of building more parking lots or modifying existing lots. 

Fleet managers and truck drivers know that the lack of truck parking is a safety and security issue. 

On the other side of the issue are the fleet managers and truck drivers. 

These industry professionals are sorely aware of just how difficult it can be to find a suitable parking spot for a big rig. 

The effects of this are many. 

  • The American Trucking Associations (ATA) reports that difficulty finding parking has become one of the leading causes of stress among truck drivers. 
  • The shortage is severe: there are only 300,000 parking spots for more than 3 million truck drivers on the roadways. 
  • This causes truck drivers to spend an average of one hour searching for parking every day. 
  • That lost time equates to $4,600 in lost wages per year, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. 
     

This not only leads to a loss of fleet productivity, but also lost wages for drivers and potential safety and security issues. 

If a driver is unable to find a legal parking spot, he or she is often forced into an uncomfortable situation: parking illegally, or illegally operating outside of Hours of Service regulations. 

If a driver is forced to park illegally due to unavailable truck parking, he may end up in an unsafe situation. Poorly lit parking lots, run-down parking lots in remote areas, and parking on the side of a highway all present serious safety and security risks to truck drivers and other motorists. 

Driving beyond the legal Hours of Service can mean driving while tired or distracted. This is an incredibly undesirable outcome, as tired drivers can end up causing damage to their freight and their trucks — not to mention, of course, the far greater risk of endangering human lives. 

While the problem of truck parking may not be an easy one to fix, it is something that can be resolved. What it will take is for governments, businesses, trucking associations, and fleet managers to begin working more closely together. 
 

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