Truckers are grappling with a mounting parking crisis, posing a significant challenge to the nation's transportation system.
The shortage of convenient parking spaces for mandatory rest hours during shifts is not only causing headaches for drivers but also escalating expenses, particularly along major interstates.
“By the time you finish the day, there’s no parking,” Chris Belu, an Atlanta-based driver, said in a statement.
In regions like Washington County, where I-70 and I-81 serve the expanding footprint of e-commerce warehouses, the issue is exacerbated.
Belu, a truck driver, highlights the financial strain, stating, “You either have to pay for parking out of pocket,” said Belu, “pay $20 a night for parking. Multiply that by six or seven days.” This predicament leaves truckers waiting for hours, even as they face increased expenses.
Federal transportation officials acknowledge the lack of short-term solutions, with truckers contending with law enforcement directives on limited parking availability.
Richard Meek, a long-hauler, emphasizes, “There’s simply not enough parking for truckers,” as acres of warehouse property remain off-limits, reserved solely for loading and unloading goods.
“A lot of cops are telling us where we can and cannot park,” said Meek.
“We have to park on the side of the interstate on the exit ramps where we have no facilities to use the restroom or wash up and get ready to go to sleep or start our runs in the morning,” said Belu. “Even then we get harassed by law enforcement.”
The American Trucking Association underscores the broader impact, noting that the time spent searching for rest areas translates to a 12 percent pay cut per driver.
Meek adds, “If you can’t park overnight at your shipper or receiver,” said Meek, “you’re pretty much forced to go to a rest area or truck stop and that makes it much harder for us.”
Addressing this critical issue, the House Transportation Committee approved the legislation to allocate $755 million for truck parking expansion to alleviate the parking shortage and provide relief for truckers.
“Much has been made of the shortage of truck parking without looking at the underlying issue: namely, the onerous hours-of-service regulations imposed on our nation’s commercial drivers, forcing them off the road into full parking lots,” said U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., during a debate in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Many drivers in the United States find the struggle to locate parking frustrating, but for those operating sizable commercial trucks, impromptu decisions on parking can result in severe injuries or even deadly outcomes.
“It's crucial to raise awareness among both the public and the U.S. government about the pressing issue of truck parking shortages. Ignoring this problem not only frustrates drivers but also poses a serious threat, leading to potential deadly consequences. Advocating for solutions and increased attention to truck parking is vital to ensure road safety and prevent tragic outcomes,” Rick Dunn of LineHaul said in a statement.