Professional truck drivers know the struggle of trying to find parking in safe areas when they’re out of hours. A new parking study indicates that parking availability has improved, but in some ways, it may have worsened.
In a recent Trucker Path survey, 85% of drivers cited parking as the #1 cause of stress at work. 70% of truckers have had to violate hours of service regulations to find parking and 96% have admittedly parked in areas not designated for trucks. In addition, 48% of drivers spend an hour or more to find safe truck parking, which is driving time that is not earning them money. The annual loss per driver is at least $5,000. The vast majority of truckers say it is harder to find parking after the ELD mandate and, according to Trucker Path app data, they look up parking availability 10-15% more often during evening hours than before the ELD mandate, signifying additional stress.
Trucker Path, the provider of mobile apps that help truckers report parking availability in real time, said the issue of truck parking is widely recognized, and considerable effort has been applied to resolve it: truck stop chains have opened new locations, the DOT granted public funds to build real-time parking systems, and the Trucker Path’s mobile apps helps drivers report parking updates in real-time. These efforts may actually be working, as Trucker Path parking data suggests that average truck parking availability improved in almost every U.S. state between 2016 and 2017.
The study praised the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for revising the personal conveyance rules to give truckers extra time beyond Hours of Service limits to search for safe parking.
It also suggests using weigh stations and shippers’ facilities as additional parking locations.
However, when Trucker Path carried out their Truck Parking Survey in 2017, 40% of truck drivers reported that they needed an hour or more to find a spot. This year, the share is up to 48%. The truck parking issue has gone up from 8th place in 2012 to 4th in 2017 in the Top Industry Issues of the American Transportation Research Institute.
Also, it said 80 percent of the 5,400 respondents to the Trucker Path study reported the ELD mandate has made it more difficult to find parking.
Seventy-two percent of drivers surveyed by Trucker Path said they sometimes park in abandoned commercial property, 75 percent sometimes use store parking lots to park, 56 percent sometimes use off-ramps to get their mandated rest, and 26 percent sometimes use residential streets or highway shoulders to comply with HOS.