A little while ago, we reported that Florida is using signs to let truck drivers know about parking availability at the next rest area. However, the parking shortage is not just happening in Florida. Throughout the United States, congestion and a strong economy have been at odds, causing a nationwide parking shortage and forcing truckers to spent a lot of time looking for places to rest.
The Big Parking Shortage Picture
The entire length of I-95, the routes along the south and west serving the oil and gas industry, and other major highways are full of trucks hauling goods to keep the economy moving. With commerce moving at a faster pace, more trucks are on the road. Unfortunately, drivers still have to adhere to the limited hours of service, which are monitors by ELDs. The whole situation has resulted in higher traffic congestion and fewer available parking spots at rest areas. The parking shortage is putting truckers in a bind, as places to stop are becoming scarce.
Public and Private Solutions
Solutions to the parking shortage are being tackled at state and federal levels, and even the private sector is getting involved. Resolving the parking shortage has been a priority since last year. In the Midwest, states are taking measures to install more signs, similar to those in Florida. As accurate and informative as those signs are, they do not create parking. Many truckers have stated that if they do not pull over between 4pm-6pm, finding parking is practically impossible. Besides, state-run rest areas comprise just around 10 percent of highway parking for truckers in the United States. In the private sector, major chains such as Love’s are adding new locations and expanding existing lots to provide additional parking for truckers. The expansion will add over 3,000 new parking spots across the country this year.
The Federal Highway Administration has recognized the parking shortage and even formed groups to study parking, including the funding necessary to solve the problem, and any legislation that would need to be implemented or changed. As things stand, parking is becoming an increased cost to the trucking industry, as many drivers end up paying for parking spaces early in the day at a location near where their shift will end. Ultimately, something will need to be done about the parking shortage, because truck drivers can only anticipate so much at the start of the day, and they may end their hours of service near a rest area without any available spaces.