SALEM, S.D. — The American Trucking Association’s (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear and Chairman Dan Van Alstine, along with U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg, visited South Dakota on Sept. 12 to celebrate a new federal investment to expand truck parking capacity within the state.
The new truck parking spaces, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will be built along Interstate 90 in Salem, South Dakota, and will help to meet the critical need to improve truck driver safety and increase the efficiency of the nation’s supply chain.
“We have stepped up our work on the truck parking coalition, and our efforts to encourage states and other decision-makers to make better use of infrastructure dollars to expand parking,” Buttigieg said, noting a USDOT partnership with stakeholders. “Know that you will continue to have a partner in the U.S. Department of Transportation. And I’m really glad that we’re able to be here to celebrate projects like this one, expanding truck parking nationwide.”
The timing of the event, during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, was particularly appropriate, according to Spear.
“There are countless ways to thank America’s hardworking truck drivers during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, and today we are doing so by addressing a serious issue that consistently ranks as one of their highest concerns,” Spear said.
“The funding being announced today will help to alleviate a shortage of truck driving spaces that too often puts drivers in a no-win situation,” he continued. “These projects being funded by the IIJA are an important step in the right direction, and we look forward to continuing to work with USDOT Secretary Buttigieg and FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson to solve this challenge together.”
There is currently only one parking spot for every 11 truck drivers on the road today. Consequently:
- A U.S. Department of Transportation report found that 98% of drivers regularly experience problems finding safe parking.
- A staggering 70% of drivers have been forced to violate federal hours-of-service rules because of this common scenario.
- Truck drivers spend 56 minutes of available drive time per day looking for parking early rather than risking being unable to find parking down the road.
With this challenge, the wasted time costs a truck driver, on average, about $5,500 in direct lost compensation, which equals a 12% cut in annual pay.
“The shortage of truck parking capacity is, first and foremost, a critical safety issue for drivers, the motoring public, and law enforcement,” said Van Alstine, who is also COO of Ruan Transportation Management Systems.
“The time that is wasted, and frustration and anxiety created, searching for safe parking, also leads to supply chain disruptions, reduces drivers’ compensation, and adds unnecessary congestion and emissions,” he added. “Secretary Buttigieg is the first USDOT Secretary to award grants for projects that add parking spots. We appreciate his focus on this issue, and we will continue to support bipartisan efforts in Congress to secure additional dedicated funding for truck parking.”
Dean Kay, a driver for Ruan Transportation and captain of America’s Road Team, was also on hand at the event.
“The severe lack of truck parking has an enormous impact on drivers nationwide,” Kay said. “It touches almost every aspect of our profession, from quality of life to compensation, but more than that, the lack of truck parking is fundamentally a safety issue. We appreciate Secretary Buttigieg’s commitment to improving the lives of professional drivers by making truck parking a priority.”
The ATA strongly advocated for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which has provided funding for hundreds of new truck parking spaces since its enactment in 2021. The USDOT provided guidance for states on eligibility requirements for funding truck parking projects under the law. ATA also endorsed the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which was introduced by Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ), as well as Reps. Mike Bost (R-IL) and Angie Craig (D-MM), which would authorize $755 million in competitive grant funding to expand commercial truck parking capacity across the U.S.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.