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Truck drivers need more safe, available parking.

Jason’s Law truck parking survey to be reissued in 2024

March 1, 2024
Later this year, the Federal Highway Administration will reissue the Jason's Law truck parking survey. A reissue of this survey follows recent efforts to improve truck parking at the federal level.

“The greatest challenge is finding a parking spot,” Laura Duryea, director of driver recruitment and professional growth for Boyle Transportation and a former driver of 25 years, told FleetOwner. “The greatest thing that we can do as a government is to provide safe parking for the people that are transporting the goods from place to place all around our country.”

Truck parking isn’t a new problem for the industry, but it is receiving more and more attention from the federal government. According to the Federal Highway Administration, a national Jason’s Law truck parking survey will be reissued later this year. 

Jason’s Law, enacted in 2012, is named for Jason Rivenburg, a truck driver shot and killed in 2009 after he parked in an unsafe location. FHWA stated that Jason’s Law requires the Department of Transportation to issue a truck parking survey and assessment every few years. The DOT conducted previous surveys in 2015 and 2019. 

FHWA’s website states that this survey aims to provide “national priority on addressing the shortage of long-term parking for commercial motor vehicles on the National Highway System to improve the safety of motorized and non-motorized users and for commercial motor vehicle operators.”

The intended respondents for this survey are state transportation and enforcement officials, port authorities, private sector facility owners/operators, trucking company owners or their designees, and truck drivers. 

FHWA hopes to gain information from this survey to “guide future investment, as well as to identify any research, policy, education, training, or other program needs to continue to support the expansion of truck parking across the nation," according to a FHWA spokesperson. 

The results from the 2019 survey found a need for more safe, available truck parking across the U.S. It is no surprise that this is a significant concern within the industry. The American Transportation Research Institute called the lack of truck parking the industry’s second biggest concern in 2024 in its annual industry issues survey. Only the economy trumped truck parking as a problem for the industry. 

In recent years, however, efforts have been made to improve truck parking across the U.S., including the FAST Act and the IIJA, which funded state and other local truck parking projects, according to FHWA. 

“Most projects identified with recent awards will take a few years to build,” an FHWA spokesperson told FleetOwner. “However, once projects are completed, we hope to see these investments result in improved parking access and safety for drivers through an increase in the number of public truck parking spots.”

Whether this year’s survey will reflect these improvements remains to be seen. The DOT has recently put more focus on truck parking. This year, it announced plans to invest $300 million into truck parking improvements in Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, California, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program.

See also: Feds to fund $300M in truck parking improvements

“The Department will continue to evaluate and select worthy projects under a variety of grant programs. In addition, states may choose to program federal aid formula funding from FHWA for such projects, and the public and private sectors may develop projects together, with or without federal funding,” according to the FHWA spokesperson.

This crash is still under investigation by NTSB, FMCSA, and Illinois authorities; however, if the trucks weren’t parked on the exit ramp overnight so the drivers could sleep, they wouldn’t have been in that danger, and their trucks wouldn’t have been damaged. According to NTSB, the rest area in question had 21 commercial truck parking spaces, but it’s unclear if they were available that night.

Boyle’s Duryea wants DOT and FHWA to understand the full scope of the truck parking problem. 

“You talk to any truck driver anywhere, and they’ve had problems with parking. And it’s usually a daily occurrence where they’re having problems with parking, so I think it’s really important for people to understand the scope of this problem,” Duryea said. “And it’s not a one-off. It’s not just that 10% of the population is having problems with parking. It is 100% of the population that’s usually having problems with parking at least once a week. I think the scope of it is hard for people to understand because we’re constantly moving.”

While truck parking remains a problem, Duryea stresses the importance of planning to truck drivers. She said it’s important to plan stops and reserve parking when possible. 

Reserved parking, however, comes with its own problems. First, not every truck stop polices their reserved parking spaces. According to Duryea, a driver can reserve parking and still show up to find their parking spot taken by another driver. In addition, reserved parking isn’t free, so some drivers have to pay out of pocket if their company doesn’t cover it.  

About the Author

Jenna Hume | Digital Editor

Digital Editor Jenna Hume previously worked as a writer in the gaming industry. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree in creative writing from Truman State University and a master of fine arts degree in writing from Lindenwood University. She is currently based in Missouri. 

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