Your Aug. 21 Pre-Trip: Truck parking shortages a ‘national safety concern’

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. A Federal Highway Administration study finds that truck driver parking shortages are a “national safety concern,” according to The Wall Street Journal. The study, which will be released today, mentions that more than 75% of the truck drivers surveyed and nearly 66% of logistics personnel reported they regularly had trouble finding safe parking when it was time to rest, WSJ said. According to the report, the truck parking shortage isn’t new, but it has been getting worse as the economy has picked up. “It has also been further squeezed by changes that took effect two years ago in the so-called hours of service rules that require truckers to take 30-minute rests after eight hours of driving and to stop for a longer period after 11 hours,” WSJ reports.

2. The Port of Oakland plans to start charging fees to move containers during peak hours in an attempt the ease congestion, The Wall Street Journal reports. The move, port officials say, is necessary to reduce traffic during peak times and to pay for Saturday service, according to WSJ. Large retailers, farmers and others who rely on the port and could end up paying millions to move cargo are criticizing the proposal. The fees are expected to go into effect on Sept. 7 unless the Federal Maritime Commission requests more information and extends the evaluation period, according to the report.

3. More and more truckers are customizing their cabs to bring the comforts of home to their drivers. According to a report in Bloomberg Business, cabs are being customized to blunt the driver shortage. “These companies are investing in entertainment systems, ceiling fans and refrigerator/freezers to ease the strain on employees who are on the road for three or four weeks at a time,” Bloomberg said. Bloomberg Business has more on other ways trucking companies are trying to attract and retain drivers.

4. New Silver Alerts may be coming to Washington’s electronic highway signs, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The messages will be for endangered missing people who are 60 years and older, and once verified, the state patrol and DOT will display signs on electronic message signs on highways and may include information on radio messages and the 511 system.

5. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration released estimates revealing that driving topped 1.54 trillion miles in the first half of 2015 – beating the previous record of 1.5 trillion back in June 2007. “The new data, published in FHWA’s latest ‘Traffic Volume Trends’ report a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel show that 275.13 billion miles were driven last June, the most ever in June of any year and the highest VMT for the first half of any year – reaffirming calls for increased investment in transportation infrastructure as demand on the nation’s highway system grows,” according to FHWA.

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