The bipartisan “Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act”, co-sponsored by Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-WY and Mark Kelly, D-AZ was introduced in the Senate Thursday, Dec.1. It would be the companion legislation to the House bill introduced last year and approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in July.
In a moment of absolute insanity, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Owner Operator and Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) actually agreed on something and sent joint letters to the lawmakers that praised the work they were doing on the legislation. Scary, isn’t it?
According to OOIDA’s President Todd Spencer: “There is only 1 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.”
I’m glad to see that the ATA has finally added the word “parking” to the phrase “truck driver shortage” and is doing some real work for the good of the truck drivers. Drivers are said to be using around an hour of their precious 14-hour working and 11-hour driving rule looking for a safe and legal parking location.
Professional drivers should be planning their parking locations when they begin their route. I know it’s a “hope that it’s there” situation, but with experience, drivers should know where reliable parking is and when spaces fill up.
Drivers should be hopeful this attempt at a public-private partnership to expand truck parking goes through. It would allow funds for both rest area improvements and help incentivize name-brand truck stops to build in areas where the NIMBYs are not so bothersome.
I know one truck stop brand would love to have a reason to build in a strategic, but lower populated area instead of the edges of urban sprawl they have tried but failed at recently. It would also give Mom-and-Pops a reason to update and upgrade with modern amenities and possibly future-proof for the next generation of trucks, whether it be battery or gas powered.
My worry is if it does pass, the funds will either get wasted buying those darn government hammers they always talk about or bogarted into another pork project or bridge to Nowhere Land. We can only hope this dream for improving driver’s sleep does come true.