Transportation Industry Parking Crisis
Parking has been an issue in the transportation industry for years as more trucks are one the road and states are cracking down on where trucks can park. The biggest change that has occurred is the electronic logging device mandate.
Because of the electronic logging device mandate, drivers have much less flexibility when it comes to finding parking places. Many times because of weather, traffic or accidents drivers find themselves in nowhere near an approved parking area when either their 11 hour driving time or their 14 hour duty time expires.
The electronic logging device mandate creates a parking dilemma for the driver. How can they be expected to properly plan for weather, traffic and accidents. Many events are unpredictable. Even long loading times at the shipper or receiver can have unpredictable effects on the driver’s ability to properly plan for their parking needs.
States cracking down on where a driver can safely park has made this problem even worse. Many times the driver is faced with the decision of breaking Federal regulations to keep driving to a safe parking area or park in an unapproved area that might have been safe once but now the States have decided it is unsafe.
There appears to be little sympathy at either the State or Federal level as drivers struggle to find parking and comply with the electronic logging device mandate.
Even truck stops are taking advantage of the situation faced by the professional truck driver when it comes to parking. Yes, some truck stops are adding parking places but they are not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.
Truck stops are charging for reserved parking because they know the professional truck driver has no choice but to pay, break Federal law or park in an area where the States will fine them. If they choose not to pay for reserved parking in advance and do not want to be fined for illegal parking by the State then they may be forced to drive around a truck stop endlessly looking for an available parking spot. Because they are probably technically ‘on-duty’ there is a good possibility they will be in violation of their Federally mandated 14 hour on duty rule as they struggle to find parking.
Other companies are building paid parking areas in major cities and off major interstates where there is a higher than average volume of truck traffic. These companies are not trying to help the transportation industry, they are trying to take advantage of Federal and State laws which limit where a truck can park and when they have to park. These companies have arisen to make a profit from the professional truck driver who already has as many requirements on them as an airline pilot for a fraction of the pay.
In effect, the electronic logging device mandate is forcing the transportation industry to pay a premium for what limited parking that is available because the driver cannot break their 14 hour on duty rule into segments even if they are not technically on duty.
This has not always been a problem, the 14 hour rule was introduced during the last major changes to the logging regulations. This rule was put in place by Washington Bureaucrats that have no clue what it is like to be a professional truck driver. They think that a professional truck driver has the same needs that they do. These Bureaucrats have forgotten that we are talking about ‘professional’ truck drivers. Professional is the key here.
Yes, we harp on the 14 hour rule often, but that is because we think there should be some changes to it. Either do away with it altogether or at least make it so the driver can split it. This single change will help alleviate some of the parking problems as well as a major drawback with the electronic logging requirement.
Give the professional truck driver control of their work day so they can rest and stop as necessary without the pressure of a running 14 hour clock. Help the driver to be more safe and enable them to find parking using their best judgement not some set in stone set of rules that are not effective and are completely undoing any potential safety advantage the electronic logging requirements might provide.
So, what states have the biggest truck parking shortage problem?
- New York
- South Carolina
What is being done about it? The States and Federal government are ‘studying’ the problem. This probably means there is no solution in site for the near term.
Professional truck drivers already give up time with their family and have a difficult life alone on the road. Contact your government representatives and let’s fix the 14 hour rule and find a solution to the parking problem without charging the drivers high fees.
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