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A safe place to park and rest: Truckers applaud bipartisan bill to relieve severe truck parking shortage

| March 30, 2021

Bipartisan legislation dedicates hundreds of millions of dollars to projects that would increase truck parking capacity

Finding a safe place to park is something most people take for granted, but it’s a daily struggle for hundreds of thousands of long-haul truckers. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association applauds the bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives that has shown they understand the challenges truckers face by introducing H.R. 2187, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which would dedicate federal funding for the expansion of truck parking capacity. The trucking industry has long suffered from a severe shortage of available places for truck drivers to safely park and comply with hours-of-service regulations.

U.S. Representatives Mike Bost (R-IL) and Angie Craig (D-MN), joined by their colleagues Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Susan Wild (D-PA), and Pete Stauber (R-MN), introduced H.R. 2187, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. This group of members from across the political spectrum demonstrates that truck parking is not a partisan issue, but a growing highway safety concern that affects truckers and all other motorists.

The bipartisan legislation dedicates hundreds of millions of dollars to projects that would increase truck parking capacity, instead of wasting money on electronic signage and other “technology” solutions that do not address the core issue of the parking shortage. Funding could be used for the construction of new truck parking facilities, expansion of truck parking at existing rest areas, conversion of space at existing weigh stations, or any other innovative solution that increases capacity. Funding would be awarded on a competitive basis and applicants would be required to submit detailed proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

“I grew up in a family trucking business and spent years driving over the road,” said Rep. Bost. “Since then, we’ve seen the need for more trucks and drivers increase significantly, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when trucking helped to keep our economy going. However, the number of truck parking spaces hasn’t kept pace. That means that drivers are forced to park in unsafe locations, which puts both them and other motorists at risk. Creating sufficient parking options for long-haul truckers will not only help keep truckers safe during their rest breaks but will also mean safer roads for everyone.”

“Without adequate parking, truck drivers are forced to pull to the side of the road or continue driving – both of which are risky,” said Rep. Craig. “I’m proud to join Representative Bost to reintroduce the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act which would increase truck parking spaces and improve safety for the folks who transport our goods and everyone on our roads.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront the critical role truck drivers play in a strong supply chain. Congress must ensure truckers are able to safely transport goods across our nation. This bill is a step in the right direction,” said Rep. Johnson.

“I’m proud to support truckers and the integral role they play in keeping our country going, especially during a pandemic that has made abundantly clear the necessity of resilient supply chains and infrastructure,” said Rep. Wild. “The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act is a necessary step towards promoting safety and protecting this vital industry and the hardworking Americans who transport goods across the country every day.”

“The trucking industry was at the forefront of the COVID pandemic, bringing essential goods like food, medicine, and PPE to stores nationwide. Their services are invaluable, so I am proud to help lead legislation that will help American truckers continue to safely and efficiently perform their jobs,” said Rep. Stauber.

In addition to their work with the bipartisan group of original sponsors, OOIDA collaborated with a diverse array of industry stakeholders to develop and build support for the legislation. H.R. 2187 also has the support of the American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, National Association of Small Trucking Companies, National Motorists Association, Transportation Intermediaries Association, American Highway Users Alliance and the Institute for Safer Trucking.

“We’ve been sounding the alarm on the truck parking crisis for decades,” said Todd Spencer, President, OOIDA. “While Congress and the Federal Highway Administration have tried to address this issue with the enactment of Jason’s Law and launching the National Coalition on Truck Parking, the continued growth of the parking shortage shows the status quo is not sustainable,” Spencer added. “Congress must provide dedicated federal investment to expand capacity if it is serious about addressing the problem.”

“The severe shortage of safe parking presents truckers with an untenable dilemma: either keep driving when they are fatigued and possibly in violation of their federal hours-of-service requirement—or park in unsafe, sometimes illegal locations, such as a roadside shoulder,” said Chris Spear, President & CEO, American Trucking Associations. “The health and wellbeing of our drivers, the safety of the motoring public, and the sustainability of our supply chain all depend on Congress addressing this issue with adequate funding in a surface transportation bill. Fortunately, Representatives Bost, Craig, Garamendi, Wild, Johnson, and Stauber have answered that call, and we thank them for their unwavering leadership on this critical issue.”

“Truck parking consistently ranks as one of the most important issues for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and trucking stakeholders across the country. On a daily basis, our companies’ drivers face dangerous conditions due to the lack of safe and convenient parking options. TCA applauds Representatives Bost and Craig for their dedication to resolving this critical safety obstacle through this legislation, which will devote significant funding toward the development of suitable parking on our nation’s highways,” said David Heller, Vice President of Government Affairs, Truckload Carriers Association.

“The availability of truck parking has become so scarce that this crisis is unsustainable and dangerous. The National Association of Small Trucking Companies proudly supports the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which would help relieve the unsustainable constraints of truck parking availability that adversely affect NASTC’s 13,000-plus commercial carriers,” said David Owen, President, National Association of Small Trucking Companies.

“Overall, more Highway Trust Fund money needs to be spent on improving/expanding roads and bridges, but that should not be at the exclusion of adequate parking facilities for commercial motor vehicles. An expansion of options for long-haul truck drivers made possible by the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act will benefit all highway users,” said Gary Biller, President, National Motorists Association.

“The Highway Users commends Congressman Bost and Congresswoman Craig for introducing this important bipartisan bill to ensure trucks drivers have a safe place to rest after a hard day at work. This bill will help make our roads safer for all drivers,” said Laura Perrotta, President & CEO, American Highway Users Alliance.

“Truck drivers need parking options to operate safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, the lack of parking for commercial motor vehicles is widespread in the United States, complicating efforts for drivers to safely plan routes and making the roads less safe for all of us. We thank Representatives Bost and Craig for working to introduce the bipartisan Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which will help address this safety issue by providing much-needed funding for the construction and maintenance of parking facilities for truck drivers,” said John Lannen, Principal, Institute for Safer Trucking.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.

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