WASHINGTON — The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act has moved one step closer to fruition.
On Tuesday, May 23, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed an amended version of the act by a vote of 60-4.
Known officially as HR2367, the parking act would provide $755 million over three years to expand truck parking capacity.
The next step will be markup hearings before a bill moves to the full House for a vote.
The Truckload Carrier’s Association (TCA) said it applauds the measure.
“This positive outcome represents a significant step forward in enhancing driver safety, ensuring compliance with federal regulations and improving the operational efficiency of the trucking industry,” according to a TCA statement.
Currently, the trucking industry is facing a critical shortage of parking spaces, with a ratio of just one parking spot for every 11 drivers, according to the TCA.
“This legislation highlights the Committee’s dedication to resolving the persistent challenge of truck parking shortages, which have long posed safety risks and hindered the productivity of supply chains,” the TCA said in its statement. “Adequate truck parking facilities allow drivers to take necessary rest breaks, comply with federal Hours of Service regulations, and effectively manage their schedules, leading to increased efficiency and improved road safety for all.”
Independent Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President and CEO Todd Spencer also lauded the committee’s approval of the parking act.
“OOIDA and our 150,000 members thank lawmakers from both parties who came together to advance this critical bill through the committee, and we encourage the U.S. Senate to follow their lead by stepping up to address American truckers’ top safety concern,” Spencer said.
Over at the American Trucking Associations (ATA), President and CEO Chris Spear pointed to the parking act and several other pieces of legislation as positive measures for the trucking industry.
“The comprehensive and bipartisan bills that advanced today would address some of the root causes of ongoing supply chain challenges and improve the overall safety, efficiency and resiliency of freight transportation,” Spear said. “ATA has repeatedly engaged with Congress to discuss persistent challenges facing our industry, and we thank Chairman Graves for his attention to these issues and for his leadership of today’s markup. We also commend the bill sponsors who worked with us and other key stakeholders to craft solutions that would benefit our industry, the economy, and American consumers.”
In addition to the parking act, the following bills are also approved by the transportation committee on May 23:
The LICENSE Act
The bill would make permanent two Department of Transporation waivers that provide flexibility for the licensing of qualified new drivers to meet trucking’s workforce needs.
According to the ATA, these waivers improve the application process for individuals seeking commercial driver’s (CDLs) licenses by allowing skills test examiners to also administer the CDL knowledge test, and to administer a driving skills test to any applicant regardless of the applicants’ state of domicile or training. The waivers were extended multiple times with no findings of adverse safety impacts by both the Trump and Biden administrations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CARS Act
The bill would provide a 10% weight tolerance specifically for stinger-steered automobile transporters.
According to the ATA, weight tolerance for automobile transporters, which are hauling heavier hybrid and electric passenger cars to market, would enable these vehicles to maximize the use of their equipment to get clean cars to auto dealers. Without exceeding federal bridge weight limits, this bill would reduce the number of miles traveled by heavy-duty trucks that must now complete multiple trips because they are unable to fully load their equipment due to current weight limits.
The Dry Bulk Weight Tolerance Act
The bill would allow a 10% weight tolerance for dry bulk carriers to allow for the shifting of cargo, in vehicles loaded at or below federal weight limits, during transit.
According to the ATA, this flexibility would increase the efficient movement of dry bulk cargo, including agricultural goods, and would ensure that companies moving those goods are not unfairly penalized due to the shifting weights due to braking and other standard events on our highways.
According to the ATA, the bill would provide a 2,000-pound weight exemption to hydrogen-powered vehicles, similar to the exemption currently enjoyed by both battery-electric and natural gas-powered heavy-duty trucks. This legislation would reduce emissions while restoring technology- and fuel-neutrality in federal regulations for companies investing in new, cleaner heavy-duty vehicles.
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.