Special Coverage of the National Truck Driving Championships

FMCSA Highlights Truck Parking, Safety at NTDC

Administrator Hutcheson Says Issue Is a Priority for USDOT
FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson
FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson cited Tennessee and Florida as states where the federal government has invested funds in truck parking projects. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Biden administration continues to prioritize efforts to expand access to parking for the nation’s truck drivers, the head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Aug. 16.

Addressing competitors at the 86th annual National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships, FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson pointed to recent grants for creating additional parking for truck operators. Already, agencies in Florida and Tennessee were awarded federal grants to pursue truck parking projects. She explained more funding is forthcoming.

“So we have funded the expansion of truck parking in two states,” she told the group of elite drivers and freight company representatives gathered at what’s referred to as American Trucking Associations’ “Super Bowl of Safety.” “[This is] a top concern for Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg, and it’s a top concern of ours.”

She continued, “I am here because I care deeply about the driving profession and what you contribute to America.”

NTDC 2023

2023 National Truck Driving Championships

Competition GalleryAwards Gallery | Qualifiers | Map of State Champions

Who: Winners from nine categories at the state level who have advanced to the national competition, where a Grand Champion will be crowned

What: Contestants are judged on a written exam, pre-trip inspection and driving skills

When: Aug. 16-19

Where: Columbus, Ohio

USDOT has indicated that major freight corridors are ideal candidates for resources designed to increase parking capacity. In Congress, federal lawmakers began to consider bipartisan legislation designed to expand parking facilities for truck drivers. The measures have yet to reach the president’s desk for enactment.

ATA has consistently endorsed congressional legislative proposals associated with truck parking. The group points to the American Transportation Research Institute, which ranked inadequate access to parking third on its 2022 “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry.”

In acknowledging the trucking tournament’s focus on safety, Hutcheson also highlighted the department’s ongoing programs. USDOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy, led by Buttigieg, aims to achieve a goal of zero roadway deaths.

ATA President Chris Spear

“[Truck drivers] are shining examples of highway safety, and their commitment to excellence makes us proud,” ATA President Chris Spear said Aug. 16, the first day of NTDC. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

The strategy by the Biden administration responds to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data that determined 42,795 individuals involved in motor vehicle traffic crashes died in 2022.

ATA President Chris Spear greeted the NTDC crowd Aug. 16. He emphasized that the more than 400 competitors at this year’s competition serve as ambassadors for an industry committed to safety.

“They are shining examples of highway safety, and their commitment to excellence makes us proud,” Spear said.

He also congratulated the women and men competing at NTDC for their contributions to the economy. “You are the heartbeat of this nation,” as he put it.

ATA Chairman Dan Van Alstine, president and chief operating officer at Ruan Transportation Management Systems, emphasized the industry’s role in transporting goods safely and efficiently along supply chains. During the pandemic, commercial drivers were praised for ensuring the flow of freight.

Take a moment and reflect on what it took to get here. Take a moment to celebrate. What you do every day matters.

ATA Chairman Dan Van Alstine

ATA Chairman Dan Van Alstine

“Grocery store shelves are full. Hospitals have medication and oxygen. Manufacturing sites have steel and raw materials,” Van Alstine said Aug. 19 before the tournament’s final day of action. “It’s because of us. It’s because of you. And you do it in a way that gives this industry and this country great pride.”

“Take a moment and reflect on what it took to get here,” the chairman told NTDC competitors. “Take a moment to celebrate. What you do every day matters.”