WASHINGTON — The Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) recently released an updated version of its Jason’s Law truck parking survey that offered a picture of the status of what drivers say — based on a survey published in October — is the top concern among their ranks.
The report revealed new statistics but no real solutions.
According to the latest Jason’s Law survey, there are about 313,000 truck parking spaces across the nation, including 40,000 at public rest areas and 273,000 at private truck stops, an increase of 6% and 11%, respectively, between 2014 and 2019.
The survey report found new shortages among the entire Interstate 95 corridor, Pacific corridors and states surrounding the Chicago region, as well as other major freight corridors.
Not many new parking areas are being developed, the report said, because of challenges in planning and funding.
Some states reported fewer public truck parking spaces compared to 2014; among those states are Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah and Washington state. On the other hand, Delaware, Florida and Tennessee all showed increases in the number of parking spaces available.
Of the nearly 11,700 truck drivers participating in the survey — a 43% increase from the first Jason’s Law survey — 98% reported problems with finding safe parking. Issues with truck parking were reported in every state and region in the U.S.
According to the survey, the highest rate of parking issues were found along major freight corridors in states along Interstate 95, the Chicago region, and Interstate 5 in California.
Times when truck parking is most difficult include at night from 4 p.m. to 5 a.m., during the week Monday through Thursday, and in the colder months of October through February.
Among the other findings based on driver responses, drivers who participated in the survey said they need a variety of parking types; design is important in truck parking; safety and security is valued; public rest area closures present challenges; receivers should offer parking on site; and truck spaces need to be reserved for trucks only.
State commercial motor vehicle safety agencies show the states with the highest rate of unofficial or unauthorized truck parking are typically those with major freight-generating areas, major ports and intermodal facilities. California, Florida, Texas and Illinois are among the states with high numbers of unauthorized parking, the report said.
According to the latest Jason’s Law survey results, the majority of unauthorized truck parking occurs on ramps (58%) and shoulders (34%), most often between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.
Commercial motor vehicle safety agency respondents reported that unauthorized truck parking is related to limited spaces and inclement weather, such as snow storms in the Rocky Mountain states. Illegal parking also occurs when trucks park to stage while waiting for deliveries. Based on that information, FHWA claims that dynamic messaging signs and other technologies are needed to broadcast information about parking availability.
Truck stop owners also participated in the 2019 Jason’s Law survey. According to the survey, more than 87% of identified truck parking is at private truck stops.
The average number of truck parking spaces per truck stop is 143 spaces. Truck stops report being over 100% capacity overnight, on weekdays and from May to October. Nearly 75% of truck stops say they do not monitor parking; those that do monitor spaces manually. More than 75% of truck stop respondents do not offer reservations, and 75% do not charge for parking. Of those that do charge for parking, 3% waive the fee for drivers who buy amenities or food.
Despite the need for parking and reports of operating over capacity, 79% of truck stop respondents said they do not plan to add more truck parking.
Jason’s Law is named in memory of professional truck driver Jason Rivenburg who was murdered for $7 while parked overnight at an abandoned gas station.