Solving the Truck Parking Shortage
Truck driver comfort continues to be a leading component of the trucking industry. One of the leading causes of truck driver stress is trying to find available parking, according to the ATA. The issue is causing a major strain on driver health and fleet productivity. But with a leading cause of stress being an inherent aspect of the job, how do you find a solution?
Causes of Truck Parking Shortage
Drivers deal with the frustrations of the lack of adequate truck parking firsthand. Meanwhile, fleet managers are looking for reasons as to why the shortage exists in the first place. Many claim that the Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations, designed to eliminate drowsiness in drivers that could lead to crashes, and the corresponding Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandates are largely responsible for drivers conglomerating at the same time in the same areas on routes.
The ELD mandate which requires drivers to have devices installed in the truck to automatically capture engine power status, vehicle motion status, miles driven and engine hours, dictates that drivers rest for a certain length of time every day in certain intervals. Because of this, fleets are claiming that the required rest periods to stay within the allotted time per day are causing them to have to stop in potentially dangerous areas, i.e. on the sides of highways or in overcrowded gas stations. These conditions often lead to drivers being without proper facilities, food or drink accommodations.
Parking is Causing the Driver Shortage
The difficulty of finding truck parking could be pushing drivers out of the industry, even contributing to the persistent driver shortage, according to experts who spoke at the Natso Annual Convention, held in Orlando on Feb. 10-13, 2019.
American Transportation Research Institute Vice President of Research Dan Murray said his organization’s research shows the average driver spends 56 minutes a day looking for parking. “Basically, they’re not getting paid, it’s a frustrating time and costs the average driver about $4,600 in direct lost compensation looking for truck parking,” he said. “It’s not just a safety and compliance issue, it’s an economic issue for some of these drivers, and our data shows for some of these drivers it’s the last nail in the coffin, and they’re out of here. It’s costing them time and money.”
What are potential solutions to the trucking parking shortage?
Some argue that it may not be a shortage of spaces but rather of the location of those spaces. “On a nationwide basis, even on a statewide basis, there are more spaces available than demand,” explained Darrin Roth, vice president of highway policy at the American Trucking Associations (ATA) in an interview with Freight Waves. So what solutions lie ahead for the truck parking shortage? Recommended solutions are technology-oriented. These solutions include redeveloping available space, like brownfields, or creatively utilizing space that are not in use during the night, like commuter lots or weigh stations.
The hardest aspect to overcome will be communication with drivers of the location of available spots. One option could be to enhance over-the-air technology that allows drivers to request or reserve a space. This technology could also be used to inform drivers of other truck parking locations of which they may not have been aware. Similar technology is in use in Iowa. The state installed both radar sensors and in-ground “puck” sensors to help identify available truck parking spots. To close the loop, transmitting that data to drivers safely is essential. Until in cab transmission is available, some states have added road signage to alert drivers of locations with available spots.
Staying Up-to-Date with Nextran
As new technology is implemented for truck parking, one must track trends to ensure productivity. In doing so, fleets and their drivers can take the necessary steps to stay safer on the road as well. Nextran Truck Centers provides fleets and their drivers with information, service and vehicles they can count on. If you have any questions, give us a call at any of our 16 locations throughout the Southeast.