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Drivers Want More, Consistent Information on Parking Spots
Jun 14, 2021

By Al Muskewitz

Finding a safe and secure place to park for their breaks was the No. 1 industry issue among truck drivers in 2021.

Drivers report parking on road shoulders, exit ramps or other undesignated areas that can be illegal, dangerous and deadly. Many drivers spend more than an hour searching for available parking before they reach their hours-of-service threshold at an average cost to them of about $5,000 a year.

It has been nine years since Congress passed “Jason’s Law” that recognizes the safety risks truckers face from the lack of available parking, and the issue is still plaguing the industry.

The American Transportation Research Institute conducted a survey on the perspective of truck parking information systems, believing the lack of national standardization may be creating confusion and distrust of these systems.  

More than three-quarters of the 1,100-plus survey respondents had more than six years on the road and two-thirds of them ran trips of 500 miles or more.

The survey confirmed “strong support” for the implementation of new information technologies to assist truckers in finding parking. It recognized truck parking information systems are managed at a facility level, but the system designs and approaches should not differ considerably across state lines. 

The top recommendation of the survey respondents for alleviating the problem, of course, was the most simple one – increase parking capacity. A separate study found there were more than 11 drivers fo every one parking space currently available. But, the survey’s editors noted, restrictive zoning rules and land costs may keep this from being a viable option.

Other solutions included improved placement of informational signage and the accuracy of the information in whatever form it is presented.

“This new research on driver issues and preferences toward truck parking information systems is hopefully a first step in developing a national driver-centric system built on clear standards and approaches,” Bill Hambrick, a Werner driver and America’s Road Team Captain, said in a news release announcing the survey results.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is installing a $29 million system this year that will give real-time parking information before drivers pull off the road at 10 of its service plazas. There will be sensors to count incoming and outgoing traffic and twice-a-day camera verification of the count.

“There is a truck parking issue, we all know it,” John Parker, the turnpike’s senior traffic operations manager, told Lehighvalleylive.com. “The turnpike as a whole wants to expand (truck parking) as much as we possibly can. We know it’s a great need for the trucking industry, to know where the parking is, know where the spaces are … We want to make it safe not only for truckers, but for passenger cars.”

Al Muskewitz is Editor of Wright Media. He can be reached at musky@wrightmediacorp.com

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