WASHINGTON — The movement to provide more safe parking spaces for truck drivers is growing across the nation.
On Thursday, Dec. 1, U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) introduced the bipartisan Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which is designed to “dramatically increase designated parking for commercial trucks,” according to the legislation’s text.
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act would invest $755 million in the creation of new truck parking spaces.
Funding would be awarded on a competitive basis and applicants would be required to submit detailed proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The primary focus would be to construct new truck parking facilities and convert existing weigh stations and rest areas into functional parking spaces for truck drivers.
The bill is similar to legislation introduced by Representatives Mike Bost (R-IL) and Angie Craig (D-MN) earlier this Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives, which was passed by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) quickly offered its support for the Senate’s measure.
“OOIDA and the 150,000 small business truckers we represent applaud the leadership of Senator Lummis and Senator Kelly in addressing the truck parking crisis that has been building for decades,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “70% of American freight is transported by truck, yet there is only one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road. When truck drivers don’t have a designated place to park, they end up parking on the side of the road, near exit ramps, or elsewhere. This isn’t safe for the driver and it’s not safe for others on the road. Senator Lummis and Senator Kelly have heard from small business truckers and are taking meaningful steps to increase truck parking capacity.”
The lack of truck parking has been a problem for decades and is only getting worse.
Capacity has not kept pace with the increasing number of trucks on the roadways, and there is currently only one parking spot for every 11 trucks, resulting in drivers wasting an average of one hour every day trying to secure parking, according to OOIDA.
“Wyoming is home to three major interstates that carry thousands of tons of cargo a day,” Lummis said. “Without safe truck parking, truckers spend an unnecessary amount of time searching for a place to park putting truckers and Wyoming drivers at greater risk for accidents. This is easily solvable, and I am thankful to Senator Kelly for joining me in finding a commonsense solution. People in Wyoming are still feeling the impacts of the supply chain crisis, and unreliable truck parking is another contributing factor to that. Fixing the parking problem will help ease this burden on consumers.”
Kelly said that “a lack of accessible and reliable truck parking makes our roads less safe. Our bipartisan legislation will expand freight truck parking to ensure that truck drivers can safely and efficiently move the goods that support our nation’s economy and supply chains.”
OOIDA officials said that drivers “need the ability to rest in safe places to best operate on America’s roadways.”
“Trucks parked on highway shoulders, exit and entrance ramps, vacant lots, and side streets create an immediate safety hazard for truck drivers and other roadway users,” they added. “Additionally, the time drivers waste finding safe parking is time not spent getting goods to their destination, slowing the supply chain and raising the costs for consumers. Expanding truck parking capacity will improve road safety and supply chain efficiency.”
Chris Spear, president of the American Trucking Associations, said that the “carefully crafted legislation provides needed investments to remedy the problem while incentivizing public-private partnerships to further expand truck parking capacity. We thank Senators Lummis and Kelly for their strong leadership. Congress must ensure our nation’s truck drivers have safe and accessible places to park and rest so they can keep delivering for the American people.”
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.