We rely on truck drivers to move goods across the United States, and a driver shortage has long plagued the trucking sector. But just as driver scarcity has become a problem, so too has a lack of semi-truck parking services. Finding open truck parking spaces can be challenging for drivers due to a large number of trucks on the road.
One of the top three concerns for drivers, according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), is the lack of parking places at rest stations and truck stops, especially since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates that drivers take mandatory rest breaks (FMCSA). It's a problem without an immediate solution that could significantly affect drivers. In this blog, you will get to know how the truck parking shortage can impact drivers.
Potential Problems Related To Semi-Truck Parking Services
1. Driver Pay and Time
Truck drivers are aware that time is money and that the clock never stops. They must prepare for the next detour or stop along the way, some of which are required by FMCSA hours of service regulations. Drivers are aware of how crucial it is to adhere to the FMCSA's mandated rest periods because breaking them can result in expensive fines that have an influence on their compensation. However, according to the American Trucking Association, when ready to stop, truckers spend an hour on average looking for parking as they get ready to end their shifts (ATA). According to the Department of Transportation, finding parking for 39% of drivers takes an hour or more (DOT).
Driver salary is decreased by around 12% yearly, or an average of $5,500, as a result of the time spent looking for parking. Unfortunately, drivers also have to pay expenses that go beyond lost production and efficiency.
2. Driver’s Safety
Despite the fact that there are numerous rest spots along motorways and busy roads, there is frequently not enough room due to the close proximity of the trucks. As a last resort, some drivers who are unable to find safe parking choose to park illegally in potentially hazardous locations such as off an exit ramp, in an empty lot, or on the side of a road. In 2020, a survey found that 98% of truckers reported having trouble finding secure parking spaces for their required breaks.
Truckers frequently run into threats including item theft, predatory behavior against female drivers, and vehicle damage from hit-and-runs or fast autos, especially when parking illegally. In addition, parking spots can sometimes be deadly.
3. Driver Attrition
It's not surprising that some drivers decide to retire or leave the industry when the chance of lower pay is coupled with increased personal risk and long hours behind the wheel. The trucking sector is currently facing a substantial issue in finding replacements for these departed drivers. According to the ATA, driver turnover was 90% in 2020, and the industry may see a driver shortage of more than 160,000 by 2030.
But as the American economy expands, more trucks and drivers are needed on the road, not less, to handle the increasing amount of freight. Additionally, drivers will eventually need to park those trucks, which is another factor contributing to the severe parking problem.
Possible Solutions To The Problem
1. Survey on Truck Parking by Jason's Law
To identify areas for parking improvement, the federal government launched the Jason's Law Truck Parking Survey in 2012. According to Jason's Law, the DOT and state motor carrier representatives must regularly evaluate commercial motor vehicle (CMV) parking, taking into account:
Assessing whether there are enough parking spots and rest areas for freight-carrying vehicles
Establishing a method to track the effectiveness of CMV parking facilities
Regularly assessing the volume of CMV traffic
As part of a statewide truck parking study, Jason's Law uses driver questionnaires to collect information on truck stop parking, car traffic, and other metrics. The goal is to develop a precise system for ongoing data collection so that various government entities may make informed judgments. Real driver feedback will help the federal and state governments decide where to allocate more funding to build more truckers' rest stations and parking.
2. Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act
Recently, a bill known as the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was put out to address the issue of truck parking and especially fund trucker rest sites. The proposed legislation would have allocated more than $1 billion over the following five years for initiatives that would have upgraded or added free rest areas along federally funded highways. Sadly, the measure was not approved as a component of the bigger $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan in August. However, it shows that there is some national attention being paid to the parking situation, which is a crucial first step.
Finding enough semi-truck parking services can be particularly difficult for drivers due to the large number of trucks that are on the road every day. Despite the abundance of truck stops and rest areas, parking spots are frequently few, making the process time-consuming. Some drivers choose improper parking when there isn't enough space, which can put them at serious personal risk and potentially result in FMCSA fines. Finding answers to this fundamental requirement should be a top priority for state and federal governments because of the crucial role that truck drivers play in propelling our economy (no pun intended). Although work is being done, the issue has not yet been resolved.
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