We understand the critical role our customers play in the economy, transporting goods across vast distances and keeping supply chains functioning smoothly. We also know that, amidst the sprawling highways and busy roads, one issue looms large for these hardworking professionals: the availability of safe and adequate parking options. As the number of trucks on the road continues to rise, the shortage of parking spaces for truckers has reached critical levels, posing significant challenges that can negatively impact the quality of life for drivers and the industry.
Although efforts by trucking industry associations, advocacy groups, and media coverage have helped raise awareness of the parking shortage issue knowing the tools available to navigate some of these challenges could make all the difference.
Regardless of your years on the road, understanding the issues could help you find ways to reduce the impact of the shortage on your personal journey.
In this article, we’ll share some insights into the parking issues, outline some factors behind the shortage, and the resulting consequences, and most importantly, offer some potential solutions to alleviate some of the stress associated with this critical problem.
Impact of the Truck Parking Shortage
According to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the ratio of available parking spots to trucks on the road is alarmingly low, with just one spot for every 11 trucks. This shortage translates to a nationwide deficit of over 40,000 parking spaces, creating a pressing issue that affects the safety of drivers and other road users.
The lack of adequate parking options easily leads to safety hazards as truckers are forced to search for parking in inappropriate locations or continue driving while fatigued. The consequences are exacerbated by the increased stress and fatigue experienced by drivers due to the constant struggle to find parking. This exhaustion can have detrimental effects on their performance and safety on the road. In a survey conducted by The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), nearly 63% of drivers reported facing difficulty in finding safe and legal parking, and over 90% expressed that the parking shortage had a negative impact on their quality of life while on the road. These findings highlight the urgency to address the problem.
ATRI further emphasizes the issue, revealing that drivers spend an average of 56 minutes each day searching for parking, leading to a substantial loss of productive time. Moreover, the cost associated with searching for parking amounts to approximately $5,500 annually, accounting for 12% of a driver's income. This financial burden compounds the challenges faced by truckers and calls for prompt action to alleviate the parking shortage and improve conditions for these essential professionals.
In May 2023, after incredible lobbying efforts from the trucking community, a bipartisan truck parking bill passed the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure committee. This bill, known as The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act (H.R. 2367), addresses the critical issue of the truck parking shortage and safety for truckers, and seeks to allocate federal funding for the expansion and enhancement of truck parking facilities across the United States. It emphasizes the importance of providing safe and adequate parking options for commercial truck drivers, with the goal of reducing the risks associated with limited parking availability, such as fatigue, stress, and compromised road safety. By prioritizing the enhancement of truck parking infrastructure, this legislation aims to improve the overall quality of life and working conditions for truckers while enhancing road safety for all motorists.
Reduce Stress by Using Available Truck Parking Apps & Tools
Several innovative tools have emerged to address the parking shortage for truckers, providing much-needed assistance and convenience. These tools can help ease your struggle finding overnight parking with efficient and accessible solutions to locate safe and reliable parking spaces.
One such tool is the app introduced by Pilot Co., which now allows truckers to reserve parking spots and access real-time information about available spaces. With an impressive addition of 75,000 parking spots across the continent, this app significantly enhances the truckers' ability to find suitable parking options.
Ryder, on the other hand, offers its RyderGyde app, which not only lists the locations of their 760 maintenance shops available for truck parking but also assists drivers in securing paid reserved parking spots or finding safe hotels in challenging and high-traffic areas. In collaboration with various hotels, Ryder also offers drivers free parking if no rooms are available.
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has developed an app called Park My Truck, which consolidates data from major truck stop operators, allowing drivers to see available parking options in approaching areas.
Evan K. Shelley established the Truck Parking Club, an online service that connects drivers with parking spots in less conventional locations like trucking company facilities, CDL schools, and properties owned by real estate investors, prioritizing secure sites.
Variable Message Signs (VMS)
Many truckers rely on variable message signs (VMS), electronic traffic signs on roadways that provide information on upcoming rest areas and the availability of parking spaces. According to ATRI, as many as 70% of truckers utilize VMS to stay informed about parking availability.
Additional Truck Parking Apps
The parking shortage for truckers is a multifaceted issue that compromises safety, contributes to driver fatigue, impacts quality of life, and imposes financial burdens. Peach State Truck Centers is committed to actively addressing this shortage and raising awareness among the public, policymakers, and local communities to foster understanding and support. By understanding the magnitude of the issue and its implications, we can all work towards creating a safer and more supportive environment for the trucking community.