In The News
Park It: Truck Parking Gets a Federal Boost
Recently, legislation was introduced by House Representatives Mike Bost (R-Illinois) and Angie Craig (D-Minnesota) to fund the creation of additional truck parking for the nation’s commercial truck driving community. The legislation has been approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure panel, and it’ll soon make its way to the House floor for a vote.
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved the amended version of the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act through the markup process. If approved by the entire House, and then by the Senate, the legislation would authorize the creation of a four-year $755 million competitive grant program for states to fund new truck parking projects. These projects will include capacity expansion and improvements to facilities like restrooms, lighting, and other security features.
Why Is This a Big Deal?
The idea and theory behind such legislation is that it aims to help make the roads and interstates safer by ensuring that truckers no longer have to risk pushing themselves too far in order to make it a few extra miles just to reach the next rest area or truck stop. Elongating a driver’s allotted time makes roads more treacherous for others traversing the nation’s highways.
Load One CEO and current TCA (Truckload Carriers Association) chairman John Elliott has been an integral voice speaking on behalf of the beleaguered trucker. John says, “You look at driver satisfaction and safety, the average driver wastes about an hour just looking for a parking spot.” He adds, “You could be the CEO of a company making big money, and if every day you drove around the parking lot for an hour looking for a parking spot, your satisfaction level with that job and with that industry will be dramatically affected.”
Safety and Driver Satisfaction are Key
Elliott also refers to the safety aspect of driver parking, in which many drivers seek parking on ramps due to lack of ample space within the parking lots. And that’s not even considering the myriad accidents and fender benders that take place in such small spaces, as well. “This is certainly an area of the industry we have to attack,” he says, adding “It’ll be good for the companies, good for the drivers, and good for the motoring public. It will improve safety across the board.”
Also, consider the spots at truck stops and rest areas where women drivers have to contend with dangerous parking situations. As an industry that is steadily turning its attention to recruiting talent from the female trucking workforce, providing properly lit and safer parking areas are also key factors in the passing of such legislation.
While the truck parking legislation still has a hurdle or two to clear, it’s obvious that the safety of our trucking brothers and sisters has become a hot enough topic to make its way to the forefront of some very big decisions which will have lasting ramifications within the transportation industry.