WASHINGTON — A solution could be in sight for the nation’s truck-parking crisis. In a bipartisan effort today, U.S. Reps. Mike Bost, R-Ill., and Angie Craig, D-Minn., both members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, legislation to increase truck-parking capacity.
H.R. 6104, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, would dedicate $755 million to projects designed to increase truck-parking spaces so truck drivers can safely comply with hours-of-service regulations. The legislation proposes constructing new truck-parking facilities and converting existing weigh stations and rest areas to include functional parking spaces for truck drivers. Funding would be awarded on a competitive basis, and applicants would be required to submit detailed proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“Right now, there is a lack of places for truck drivers to safely stop, forcing them to pull over to the side of the road, or continue driving, both of which are risky,” said Rep. Angie Craig. “That’s why I am proud to be working my colleague, Rep. Mike Bost from Illinois to increase truck parking spaces, increasing safety for folks transporting goods to and from Minnesota’s Second Congressional District.”
Bost, who said he “grew up” in a family trucking business, is no stranger to the rewards and pitfalls of the industry.
“I learned at early age what a rewarding career [trucking] could be,” said Bost. “However, I also understood that trucking can be a tough, demanding and even dangerous job. One concern for truck drivers is the lack of enough safe parking spots where they can get the rest they need without risking collisions on the shoulder of the highway or being forced to push their limits to find the next rest stop. This puts the truckers and other motorists as significant risk. That’s why I’m proud to lead this effort to create sufficient rest parking options for long-haul truckers.”
H.R. 6104 is supported by numerous trucking-industry organizations, including American Trucking Associations (ATA), the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), the National Association of Small Trucking Companies and the National Motorists Association.
“America’s truck drivers work every day to deliver goods to keep our economy moving safely and efficiently,” said Chris Spear, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations (ATA). “The government mandates drivers pull over and rest to comply with the hours-of-service rules; the least our government can do is work to ensure [the drivers] have a safe place to park to get the rest they need.
“Reps. Bost and Craig recognize that in order to do their jobs, truck drivers need paces where they can safely park and rest … and we applaud them for their leadership in introducing this important legislation,” Spear continued.
Congress and the Federal Highway Administration have tried to address the issue of commercial-truck parking with the enactment of Jason’s Law and the launching of the National Coalition of Truck Parking. Even so, nearly half of all truck drivers report being forced to park on the shoulders of highways or other unofficial, unsafe locations due to lack of parking. On average, the cost of looking for parking amounts to $5,500 in lost wages each year.
“One of the persistent complaints our drivers have is that they struggle to find safe parking,” said Randy Guillot, ATA chairman and president of Triple G Express Inc., New Orleans. “This bill will provide the means to help address that concern.”
The truck-parking shortage has garnered national media attention in recent days, with the shooting of a truck driver by a security guard at a travel stop in Oklahoma City during a dispute about a reserved parking spot.
“After decades of ignoring the problem, Congress is finally getting serious about fixing the severe lack of truck parking across the country. Finding a safe place to park is something most people take for granted, but it’s a daily struggle for hundreds of thousands of truckers,” said Todd Spencer, president and CEO of OOIDA. “Congressman Bost and Congresswoman Craig have shown they not only understand truckers are experiencing a crisis, but have the mettle to address it through groundbreaking, bipartisan legislation.”
David Heller, vice president of government affairs for TCA, said, “Truck parking consistently ranks as one of the most important issues for the Truckload Carriers Association and trucking stakeholders across the country. On a daily basis, our companies’ drivers face dangerous conditions due to the lack of safe and convenient parking options. TCA applauds Reps. Bost and Craig for their dedication to resolving this critical safety obstacle through this legislation, which will devote significant funding toward the development of suitable parking on our nation’s highways.”
David Owen, president of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, said, “The availability of truck parking has become so scarce that, in many parts of the country, it’s reached crisis levels. The scope of the problem is such that the solution must be multifaceted. The legislation sponsored by Reps. Bost and Craig represents an important part of the solution — grants dedicated to putting truck parking along federal roads.”
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.