Most Dangerous Truck Parking Hot Spots

Knowing dangerous truck parking ‘hot spots’ can help fleets keep drivers safe

Dec. 8, 2022
As more industry and government attention turns toward improving truck parking availability across the U.S., Lytx shares early data from its unsafe parking alerts. Just one parking spot remains for every 11 long-haul trucks on the nation's roadways.

Finding safe, legal places to park can be one of the most difficult tasks for professional truck drivers, whose jobs are already full of challenges. New data from video telematics provider Lytx shows the most common risky areas—highway shoulders and ramps—in the U.S. where drivers are parking this year.

“Every person in this room knows where you’re going to put your head down tonight—and you know you’re going to be safe when you go to sleep,” Rebecca Brewster, American Transportation Research Institute president and COO, told a crowd of fleet executives gathered outside Montreal for Isaac Instruments’ 2022 User Conference in November. “That same luxury is not afforded to the men and women who drive over-the-road for us. It’s the No. 1 concern for drivers.”

See also: Bipartisan Senate bill would fund expanded truck parking

For the third straight year, parking topped drivers’ concerns on ATRI's 18th annual Top Industry Issues list. Brewster said she’s harped on the parking problem for years as it was absent from the motor carrier side of ATRI’s yearly list of top trucking issues—until this year when it finally cracked fleet executives’ top 10. Parking ranked No. 3 overall on the 2022 list. 

“I put it in the win column this year that it shows up on the main motor carrier list of concerns—but at No. 10,” she said. 

While more than 70% of U.S. freight moves by trucks, there is just 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,”  Todd Spencer, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association president, said Dec. 1. “This isn’t safe for the driver, and it’s not safe for others on the road.”

Top 20 truck parking danger ‘hot spots’

The same week ATRI unveiled its top industry issues in October, Lytx announced it would offer fleet customers more visibility into their drivers’ parking safety. 

The new Parked Highway/Ramp feature triggers the Lytx DriveCam event recorder when a vehicle stops for 10 minutes on the shoulder of a highway or an off/on ramp. When a Parked-Highway/Ramp event occurs, it notifies fleet managers so they can contact the driver and help him or her find nearby safe parking locations by sending GPS locations directly to that driver.

See also: DOT turns attention to truck parking solutions

During its early weeks of deployment through the Lytx Lab in October, the trucking technology company gathered data from these incidents to put together the top 20 “hot spots” for dangerous highway roadside and on/off ramp truck parking. 

Kristin Costas, senior director of product management at Lytx, said the data is vital for industry safety. “For our customers who are using this feature today, it's a way for them to be proactive around these locations within their fleets,” she told FleetOwner. “For the broader commercial driving community, to make them aware that these locations are problematic, and even if you're not a Lytx customer, you can take advantage of this insight and this information.”

Pulled from nearly 50,000 truck parking events over two weeks, Oct. 6-20, Lytx data scientists found that most of the risky parking was happening along the East Coast and South. Here are Lytx’s top 20 dangerous hot spots (by county or city location): 

  1. I-78/US 22 West in Greenwich Township, Pennsylvania
  2. New Jersey State Route 3 North to Lighting Way in Hudson County, New Jersey
    1. Kentucky State Route 4 West in Lexington, Kentucky
      1. I-95 South in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
        1. I-95 South in New Castle County, Delaware
          1. I-85 South in Jefferson, Georgia
            1. I-75 North in Atlanta, Georgia
              1. U.S. Route 95 in Humboldt County, Nevada
                1. New Jersey State Route 19 South in Paterson, New Jersey
                  1. New Jersey State Route 70 East in Cherry Hill Township, New Jersey
                    1. South Carolina State Route 9 North in Marlboro County, South Carolina
                      1. I-75 South in Atlanta, Georgia
                        1. U.S. Route 13 North in Kent County, Delaware
                          1. Florida State Route 997 North in Miami-Dade County, Florida
                            1. I-85 South in Jackson County, Georgia
                              1. U.S. Route 95 North in Yuma County, Arizona
                                1. Virginia State Route 110 East in Arlington County, Virginia
                                  1. I-95/New Jersey Turnpike South in Middlesex County, New Jersey
                                    1. I-5 South in Los Angeles County, California
                                      1. U.S. Route 49 West in Humphreys County, Mississippi

                                        How fleets can help fight for more parking

                                        Amir Sultan, lead product manager at Lytx, told FleetOwner that solving the parking problem is complex—because many reasons can lead drivers to park in unsafe parking spots. Beyond there not being enough official truck parking areas, drivers could be running out of time on their hours of service clock or backed up in a long queue outside a shipping facility, he cited as examples.

                                        But he noted that just building more parking won’t solve the problem. “It’s a complex problem that needs be through,” he said. “Understanding the whole holistic picture of what is happening and why it is happing is necessary.”

                                        See also: 25 deadliest U.S. highways

                                        He said that tying parking to business operations data to find the best locations for expanded truck parking would help drivers even more. 

                                        “There are things a motor carrier can do when you think about your driver population,” ATRI’s Brewster said. “I encourage fleets in the U.S. to make sure their state departments of transportation keep those public rest areas open. Particularly during COVID, we saw states closing public rest areas—carving out capacity.”

                                        Brewster also encouraged fleet leaders to advocate for private truck stop companies looking to expand current sites or build new facilities. “You can be an advocate for that facility with your local planning organization,” she suggested. “So often those companies face that ‘not in my backyard’ pushback locally. They need advocates on their behalf.”

                                        ATRI’s Brewster said in November that she was encouraged by recent U.S. DOT grants to fund additional truck parking in Tennessee and Florida. “They have indicated that it’s just the beginning,” she said. “I am hopeful now that it is finally getting some attention.”

                                        A couple of weeks after Brewster took her message north of the border, the U.S. Senate proposed its bipartisan truck parking legislation. The bill, companion legislation to a House bill introduced in 2021, would include more than $750 million in competitive grants over four years.

                                        “It is an issue that we just simply cannot let continue the way it has,” Brewster said.

                                        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. 

                                        Sponsored Recommendations

                                        Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

                                        Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

                                        80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

                                        After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

                                        Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

                                        Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

                                        Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

                                        Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry during this informative webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive...

                                        Voice your opinion!

                                        To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!