Between the HOS regulations and the expected increase in freight, where can truck drivers find a place to rest?
Earlier this year, a Wall Street Journal article covered a Federal Highway Administration (FHA) study that found the shortage of truck parking is a real safety concern. There have been a number of stories on the hazards of drowsy drivers and fatal accidents, from the Tracy Morgan incident to the FleetOwner article just last week on the increase in driving fatalities in 2015 over 2014. That article notes that drowsy driving contributed to the deaths of over 800 people in 2014.
The 119-page study noted that more than 75% of truck drivers surveyed and nearly 66% of logistics personnel reported trouble finding parking when it was time to rest. A full 90% “struggled to find safe and available parking” at night. Add to this the HOS regulation, tighter capacity, and driver shortage, and you can see the great difficulty drivers face.
Rather than put travelers in danger, many drivers are forced to park in unsafe, illegal, or isolated areas, from parking lots to freeway ramps to road shoulders. But no one group or organization is focused on the problem of finding and/or creating truck parking facilities. The reality is that “88% of the 309,000 spaces documented in the study are at private truck stops, not public facilities.”
Even if truck parking exists, it may not always be available when drivers need it most. As the study indicated, 90% of drivers struggle to find available spots at night. One of the ways of insuring availability might be reserved parking. The problem, as Truckinginfo found is, as their headline states, “Truckers Like Reserved Parking – But Not Paying for It.” The article cites a truck parking study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) of more than 1,400 drivers. What they found was that, even though the drivers would really like reserved parking, especially near large metropolitan areas, nearly half of those surveyed would not be willing to pay for parking reservations. Their desire would be for the carrier to pick up that cost
Although reserved parking might mitigate the problem for the drivers who use it, the overall problem still remains. Whether spaces are reserved are not, there just aren’t enough of them in the most populous areas.
Do you think reserved parking is a good option? If so, who do you think should pay for it?