Parking still remains an issue throughout the trucking industry. Parking is becoming more scarce, with repercussions ranging from lower take-home pay for drivers to penalties for drive time according to the ELD mandate. Last month, the Transportation Research Board met to discuss parking and possible solutions.
Parking is not the sole responsibility of the trucking industry
The trucking industry has grown over the years. While carriers have places for their own drivers to park, once they’re out on the open road, parking becomes scarce. Truck stops, fuel stations, and convenience stores provide roughly 90 percent of the parking available to truck drivers nationwide. Unfortunately, this is not enough, and both state and federal infrastructure have not kept up to allocate additional space in those areas that see high traffic from truckers. Many times, designated parking areas for truckers are filled up at the end of a shift, forcing truck drivers to look elsewhere.
Parking poses serious repercussions for truckers
The Transportation Research Board pointed to reports from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) on truck parking. The ATRI report showed that over 35 percent of truckers take advantage of undesignated and even unauthorized parking up to four times per week. Almost 50 percent of truck drivers parked in unauthorized places at least three times every week. This is not because of laziness, but because of the sheer lack of available parking for truckers. Many drivers are cutting their driving time short to look for authorized spots earlier in their shifts. While they may or may not find a parking spot, the result is lower take-home pay. Those that drive until the end of their shifts risk parking in unauthorized spots or being caught out of compliance. The ATRI report showed that almost 50 percent of truck drivers are stopping their shifts at least an hour earlier than usual to find adequate and legal parking spots.
The Transportation Research Board also floated some possible ideas to solve the parking issue. Larger venues need to be put in place for off-hour parking. Additionally, the time a truck can stay parked in a space could be expended, which would decrease the mad rush to find short-term parking spots at the end of the day. The Federal Highway Administration will be holding more workshops to solidify a plan to eliminate – or at least lessen – the parking issues in the trucking industry.