TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey officials want to make their highways safer, and part of accomplishing that is creating more parking for truck drivers.
The state’s transportation officials said recently that providing adequate facilities along big highways for truckers is one of the state’s most severe challenges.
New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Stephen Schapiro said that consideration for improving truck parking will be part of a statewide freight plan to be released later this year, according to NJ.com.
“Investments that facilitate the flow of freight, such as improving the availability of parking, will contribute toward ensuring the reliability and safety of these supply chains,” Schapiro said.
The U.S. House included $1 billion to address the truck parking shortage problem in the transportation bill that was passed in July 2021, that $1 billion never made it into President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law.
Earlier this month, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledged during a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Senate Committee that a lack of safe truck parking is a serious issue that must be addressed.
“If you talk with any truck driver, it’s not only an issue of convenience, it’s an issue of safety,” Buttigieg said. “And, I might add, with the idling that goes on, it’s even an issue of emissions.”
A new U.S. Department of Transportation report looking at supply chains, which have been disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, called on federal and state officials and the private sector to expand parking facilities for truckers, who have complained about the shortage of spaces to rest after they reach the limit on how long they can drive in a day.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and American Trucking Associations (ATA) point out that there are about 3.5 million truck drivers and only 313,000 truck parking spaces nationally.
Both groups recently sent a letter to Buttigieg urging Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds be prioritized to boost the nation’s truck parking capacity.
The groups say the nationwide shortage of available parking has plagued America’s truck drivers for decades, with a wide range of consequences for highway safety, driver health and well-being, supply-chain efficiency and the environment.
New Jersey is also looking to address the number of fatalities on its roadways.
Fatal accidents on New Jersey’s highways went up from 587 in 2020 to 702 in 2021, according to New Jersey State Police.
So far this year there has been 106 fatalities on New Jersey roads compared to 93 this time in 2021 and 94 in 2020, according to New Jersey State Police. Of 2022’s deaths, 100 have been due to crashes.
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.