The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations are requesting the administration’s support of a truck parking bill after they failed to include parking in the recent ‘Trucking Action Plan.’
The letter was sent to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Friday, February 18th, and asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to make the issue of safe truck parking a priority through the funding of truck parking projects. Although the administration’s previously released ‘Trucking Action Plan’ did mention the negative impact that misusing a trucker’s time has on the overall supply chain and economy, it failed to address how much time drivers spend searching for a safe place to park – an egregious oversight according to the OOIDA and ATA.
The OOIDA did lobby lawmakers throughout the process of passing the ‘Trucking Action Plan,’ to include funding for commercial vehicle parking, but the $1 billion reserved for parking in the original House bill died in the Senate. After the bill was made into law without the inclusion of truck parking, the OOIDA sent a previous letter to Buttigieg requesting $1 billion be used for truck parking, but to no apparent avail.
“As the administration noted in its December 2021 Trucking Action Plan announcement, the economic impacts of inefficient use of a driver’s time are profound, and the practical impacts of productivity losses create issues throughout our supply chains,” Friday’s letter reads.
“The lack of available parking has dire safety implications for truck drivers, as well as the motoring public… When drivers are unable to find safe, authorized parking, they are stuck in a no-win situation, forced to either park in unsafe or illegal locations, or violate federal hours-of-service regulations by continuing to search for safer, legal alternatives.”
“Truck drivers consistently rank truck parking availability as a top industry concern in annual driver surveys, yet little has been done to address this challenge,” OOIDA and ATA continued in Friday’s letter. “It is difficult to conceptualize a workplace without reliable access to restrooms, food and well-lit facilities, but this is the unfortunate reality for truck drivers in America.”
“How can the trucking industry recruit and retain a highly qualified driver workforce when their workplace – America’s roads and bridges – fails to meet drivers’ most basic needs?”
“If the U.S. DOT prioritizes the expansion of truck parking capacity and makes significant progress toward that effort, drivers will be safer and healthier,” the letter states. “Fleets will be more productive. The trucking workforce will be more resilient, and trucks will reduce their fuel needs and emit fewer emissions into the environment. All of these benefits would be passed on to the average American in the form of lower prices, greater availability of goods and a cleaner planet. We stand ready to assist in any way we can.”
“We ask that you educate state and local partners about this eligibility and prioritize funding for grants that would increase truck parking capacity. In addition to this assistance for drivers and the supply chain, we ask that you support the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, HR2187, legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., that would establish a competitive discretionary grant program and dedicate $755 million over five years to fund truck parking projects across the country.”