Josh Fisher I FleetOwner
truck parking ticket

Bipartisan Senate bill would fund expanded truck parking

Dec. 2, 2022
Introduced as a companion bill to legislation the U.S. House passed in 2021, the Senate’s plan would include grant money to fund expanded truck parking across the nation, where there only is one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road.

Two U.S. senators introduced legislation to expand truck parking across the country on Dec. 1. The bipartisan Senate bill, which is companion legislation to a House bill introduced in 2021, would include more than $750 million in competitive grants over four years.

“A chronic, nationwide shortage of commercial truck parking continues to strain our supply chain and jeopardize highway safety for all motorists,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said Dec. 1. “This carefully crafted legislation provides needed investments to remedy the problem while incentivizing public-private partnerships to further expand truck parking capacity."

See also: More truck parking requires more funds

The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act—introduced by U.S. Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and Mark Kelly (D-Arizona)—establishes new funding eligibility criteria, including considerations for drivers' personal safety. Drivers ranked the lack of parking as their No. 1 concern in the annual American Transportation Research Institute Top Industry Issues report. The overall industry ranked it No. 3—behind fuel prices and the driver shortage.

The lack of safe parking often is cited as a serious deterrent to more women joining the industry. The bill also would make routine maintenance expenses eligible for funding, as state transportation officials often cite maintenance costs as a deterrent to expanding parking capacity.

“A lack of accessible and reliable truck parking makes our roads less safe,” Kelly said. “Our bipartisan legislation will expand freight truck parking to ensure that truck drivers can safely and efficiently move the goods that support our nation’s economy and supply chains.”

The parking shortage has a costly, measurable impact on supply chain efficiency, driver health and well-being, highway safety, and the environment, according to ATA. When drivers cannot find safe, authorized parking, they are forced to either park in unsafe or illegal locations, or to violate federal hours-of-service rules that regulate their daily drive time to search for safer, legal alternatives.

In the wake of the Senate legislation, ATA shared some recent truck parking facts:

  • A U.S. Department of Transportation report found 98% of drivers regularly experience problems finding safe parking.
  • The same report found the truck parking shortage exists in every state and region and is most acute along major freight corridors.
    • 70% of drivers have been forced to violate federal hours-of-service rules because of this common scenario.
      • To ensure they can find a safe and legal space, truck drivers often park prior to exhausting available drive time, surrendering an average of 56 minutes of valuable drive time per day, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.
        • The time spent looking for available truck parking costs the average driver about $5,500 in direct lost compensation—or a 12% cut in annual pay.

          The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association also came out in strong support of the legislation. 

          “OOIDA and the 150,000 small business truckers we represent applaud the leadership of Senator Lummis and Senator Kelly in addressing the truck parking crisis that has been building for decades,” Todd Spencer, OOIDA president, said on Dec. 1. “Seventy percent of American freight is transported by truck, yet there is only one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road. When truck drivers don’t have a designated place to park, they end up parking on the side of the road, near exit ramps, or elsewhere. This isn’t safe for the driver and it’s not safe for others on the road. Senator Lummis and Senator Kelly have heard from small business truckers and are taking meaningful steps to increase truck parking capacity.” 

          See also: Trucker Path names top 20 most available U.S. parking locations

          Lumis noted how her state is an important part of the U.S. trucking supply chain, with three major interstates running through it that see thousands of tons of cargo each day. 

          “Without safe truck parking, truckers spend an unnecessary amount of time searching for a place to park, putting truckers and Wyoming drivers at greater risk for accidents,” Lumis said. “This is easily solvable, and I am thankful to Senator Kelly for joining me in finding a commonsense solution. People in Wyoming are still feeling the impacts of the supply chain crisis, and unreliable truck parking is another contributing factor to that. Fixing the parking problem will help ease this burden on consumers.”

          The current Congress session ends on Jan. 3, 2023, when the new House and Senate are seated. The Senate legislation would need to be paired with the House bill and approved before then.

          About the Author

          Josh Fisher | Editor-in-Chief

          Editor-in-Chief Josh Fisher has been with FleetOwner since 2017, covering everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, artificial intelligence, autonomous trucking, regulations, and emerging transportation technology. He is based in Maryland. 

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