Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Webinar wisdom: How truck parking affects drivers — and your operation

Jason Palmer
Jason Palmer
Transportation Intelligence, Omnitracs

The safe parking-spot conundrum is often on the mind of commercial vehicle drivers as their workdays near a close.

Unfortunately, many of these drivers are all-too-familiar with the sinking sensation that accompanies the realization there are no available parking spots, leaving them feeling stranded and sometimes forced to park in dangerous areas.

On Wednesday, February 10, I participated in a webinar to dive into this hot-button issue. Joining me were:

  • Dan Murray, Senior Vice President, American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI)
  • Sam Kruse, Business Analyst, Omnitracs

In our webinar, we discussed everything from truck parking analytics to helpful solutions. Read on for a few valuable takeaways.

Truck parking is the number one issue for commercial drivers

The ATRI is a nonprofit institute responsible for researching various topics on trucking and economics, and Dan is responsible for managing the institute's transportation research segment. He began our webinar by sharing helpful insight into current parking challenges and what they may mean for your fleet.

Truck parking is a critical matter affecting our industry, yet many people don't fully understand its significance to driver safety and company productivity. The truck parking issue is so critical that commercial drivers selected it as their number one issue in the ATRI's Top Industry Issues 2020 survey. Interestingly, motor carriers ranked driver shortage and driver retention as their top two issues.

While these results may not seem correlated at first, they very much are. Drivers dealing with the anxieties of finding safe and convenient parking every day while also trying to balance hours of service compliance, traffic, and fatigue are significantly less likely to stay in their roles. This is especially true if their managers aren't providing them with solutions to find available parking easily.

The truck parking shortage isn't just dangerous — it's costly

The most concerning parking scenarios are ones that are in unsafe areas, where drivers are parked on the sides of freeways or interstates like sitting ducks. According to ATRI research, one in every three truck drivers is parking in an undesignated parking location multiple times a week.

Further, the average commercial driver spends 56 minutes a day looking for available parking — that's nearly an hour a day they can be resting or working on essential administrative tasks. When you break that number down further, it results in $4,600 a year in lost wages for drivers, which is certainly not a good selling point for driver retention.

COVID-19 has only intensified the problem, with nearly half of all drivers reporting that truck parking is somewhat harder, or much harder, to find. To make matters worse for the driver experience, detention times have significantly increased as shippers are shorter staffed or dealing with additional operational limitations due to time-consuming packaging and sanitation procedures.

You may not be able to create additional parking spaces — but you can find them

With a user-friendly and robust risk mitigation solution, you can help drivers stay safe and find easily-accessible parking spaces in a reasonable time.

Through advanced analytics, you can discover where you’re having the most challenges with unsafe parking. You can then utilize that information to change operations with your shipping partners and help drivers find safer parking. Additionally, you can also monitor trucks parked in unsafe areas over an extended period and quickly dispatch assistance so they can identify if it's a maintenance or parking issue.

Watch the webinar for more details from the ATRI report. Then, take a look at SmartDrive SmartSense to see how you can keep your drivers — and business reputation — safe.