March 10, 2020 10:15 AM, EDT

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Increase Truck Parking

Parked trucksParked trucks by Getty Images

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Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have introduced legislation that would address the lack of available truck parking.

Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) are co-sponsoring the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which they introduced March 5. The legislation would create a dedicated source of funding, set aside from existing Department of Transportation funds, to build more truck parking spots on the federal-aid highway system.

To comply with hours-of-service regulations, truck drivers are required to stop and rest at certain intervals. If a trucker runs out of service hours, he or she will sometimes park in an unsafe location, such as the shoulder of a highway or ramp.

“One concern for truck drivers is the lack of enough safe parking spots where they can get the rest they need without risking collisions on the shoulder of the highway or being forced to push their limits to find the next rest stop,” Bost said. “This puts the truckers and other motorists at significant risk.”

In one of his pre-congressional jobs, Bost spent 13 years working as a driver and a manager at Bost Truck Service, which is based in Murphysboro, Ill.

Lack of available parking spaces is an important issue for the trucking industry. Truck parking ranked No. 5 on the American Transportation Research Institute’s Top Industry Issues report, issued Oct. 6. Participants in the report called for the federal government to establish funding to help increase truck parking capacity at key freight locations.

“Right now, there is a lack of places for truck drivers to safely stop, forcing them to pull over to the side of the road, or continue driving, both of which are risky,” said Craig, who represents the district immediately south of the Twin Cities.

Leaders from the industry commended the legislation. American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear said opportunities to rest safely are important to truckers, who move more than 70% of the nation’s goods.

“As part of that, the government mandates drivers pull over and rest to comply with the hours-of-service rules. The least our government can do is work to ensure they have a safe place to park to get the rest they need,” Spear said. “Representatives Bost and Craig’s recognition that in order to do their jobs, truck drivers need places where they can safely park and rest is overdue, and we applaud them for their leadership in introducing this important legislation.”

ATA reports nearly half of all truck drivers have had to park on the shoulders of highways or in other unauthorized locations due to lack of available spaces. The cost of looking for parking amounts to an average of $5,500 in lost wages annually, according to ATA.

“Finding a safe place to park is something most people take for granted, but it’s a daily struggle for hundreds of thousands of truckers,” said Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. “Congressman Bost and Congresswoman Craig have shown they not only understand truckers are experiencing a crisis, but have the mettle to address it through groundbreaking, bipartisan legislation.”

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