The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released survey results late last week that point to a lack of truck parking information and capacity across the nation, and called for a national coalition to address the problem and help find targeted solutions.
Nearly half of the state departments of transportation responding to the “Jason’s Law” survey reported that truckers were forced to park on freeway interchange ramps and shoulders of highways, which represents a safety issue.
In 2009, truck driver Jason Rivenburg was in South Carolina with a fully loaded commercial truck. Because there were no rest stations around, Rivenburg pulled into an abandoned roadside gas station for a nap. While he slept, he was tragically robbed and murdered.
“We know truck parking has been a longstanding problem in our nation and we need new approaches to fix it,” said U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez. “Now more than ever, this country needs better planning, investment, and innovation from those who have a stake in safe truck parking and transportation.”
The National Coalition on Truck Parking announced today that it will continue working to find solutions to truck parking needs and will include the FHWA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Trucking Associations, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance in finding these solutions.
“Highway safety depends in part on making sure hardworking, professional truck drivers have a safe place to recuperate after spending hours on the road,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “We at FMCSA are committed to addressing this shortage of safe and convenient truck parking for the drivers who do so much to advance our economy.”
The “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” Act (MAP-21) required the USDOT to conduct the survey to determine if adequate parking is available for truck drivers based on the level of commercial traffic in the state. Along with state departments of transportation, the USDOT surveyed safety officials, truckers and truck stop operators, and other trucking industry stakeholders.
The Department’s findings in the “Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey Results and Comparative Analysis” show most states reported having truck parking shortages occurring at all times of the day on every day of the week. The analysis includes a discussion of the factors that can influence truck parking and offers ways to improve the measurement of the truck-parking problem, including the collection of data on supply and demand, congestion and safety.
Over the coming months, the USDOT and National Coalition on Truck Parking will engage in a dialogue with state and local governments, law enforcement and the trucking and business communities to work together to advance truck parking solutions to meet the needs of the nation’s truck drivers.