In the United States, parking shortages for big rigs have become a serious problem. In fact, it’s so big that it’s become a national concern that not only impacts truck drivers but impacts the lives of all people on the roads, too. The lack of parking spaces in the U.S. poses serious safety challenges for truck drivers and regular motorists and has had major repercussions on an already strained supply chain. What’s causing truck parking shortages? What’s being done to combat the problem? In this post, we’ll explore the factors that are contributing to this serious issue and what – if any – efforts have been made to resolve it
What is Being Done About Truck Parking Shortages?
The Reason Behind Truck Parking Shortages
Big rig parking shortages have been a problem for several years; however, in recent years, the surge in demand for freight has led to a marked increase in the number of big rigs on the road, which has further compounded the truck parking issue. Add to that the fact that the amount of land available that can be used for truck parking and the shortage has become unprecedented.
The Impact on Drivers
The shortage of parking spaces doesn’t just affect truckers; it affects all motorists. Clearly, truck drivers are impacted the most, as they often find that they have to decide if they should continue driving, despite the fact that they are well past the point of needing a break, or if they should park in unsafe and potentially illegal locations (entrance and exit ramps, for example). Not only is this dangerous for truckers but for all motorists.
The parking shortage is also affecting truck drivers’ pockets, as the amount of time they have to spend searching for parking is time that they could be driving. A shortage of parking spots for trucks translates to fewer miles driven and at the end of the day, less money in their paychecks.
What’s Being Done to Address the Shortage?
The shortage of truck parking spots is an issue that has not gone unnoticed. To address the problem, in March of 2021, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was introduced to the House of Representatives. If this bill is passed, the Department of Transportation (DOT) would be authorized to disburse funding to create more parking spaces for truck drivers across America’s entire highway system.
Regrettably, the last action taken on this bill was on December 31, 2022. The act was placed on the Union Calendar, and at the time of writing, no further action had been taken.
Four DOTs in western states – Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and California – have partnered to develop a parking system for long-haul truckers by the year 2023. This system will track the number of truck parking spaces that are available at a total of 37 public rest areas/truck stops, as well as 550 parking spots, along I-10 in these four states.
Outlook for Truck Parking Shortages
Though it does appear that the shortage of parking spaces for truck drivers will be around for a while, there is reason to be hopeful. Awareness of the issue continues to grow and truckers, carriers, and many who have been impacted by the problem – including the general public – are speaking out and taking action to resolve this serious national issue.
Additional information: Truck Parking – U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration
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