Trucking industry groups are praising the introduction of a Senate bill to address a nationwide shortage of truck parking, an issue they say risks public safety, contributes to supply chain snags, and reduces income for the nation’s more than three million truck drivers.
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was introduced this week by U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ). A companion bill in the House was passed by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in July.
Groups such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) weighed in with their support, calling the legislation an important step in addressing a chronic industry problem. There is roughly one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road, according to OOIDA.
“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,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said in a press release Thursday. “This isn’t safe for the driver and it’s not safe for others on the road.”
In addition to safety concerns, the time drivers waste finding safe parking delays the arrival of goods to their destination, slowing the supply chain and raising costs for consumers. It also costs drivers big: The average driver loses about $5,500 in direct lost compensation—or a 12% cut in annual pay—due to searching for parking, according to ATA.
The legislation would invest $755 million to create new truck parking spaces. According to the groups, funding would be awarded on a competitive basis and applicants would be required to submit detailed proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The primary focus would be to construct new truck parking facilities and convert existing weigh stations and rest areas into functional parking spaces for truck drivers.