The U.S. economy is expanding, and with that comes a rapidly growing intermodal and freight trucking volume. While this is great for the economy and freight brokers, it is creating problems for the women and men who drive trucks. Truckers need a safe, secure place to park during periods of rest. Unfortunately, there is a significant lack of such places. Furthermore, companies on the receiving end of the freight load have long refused trucker parking. If freight volume continues to grow, this problem needs a solution.
Car Park Problems: A Lack of Space
If a trucker can’t find a place to park, he or she will likely have to either spend too much time looking for space, risking the chance of overworking and tired driving, or hesitate at the idea of traveling out of the way to find (and pay for) overnight parking. Tired of searching and faced with either trekking to an expensive location or adapting to wherever he or she is, a worn-out driver may roost in an impromptu, unofficial spot, leaving him or herself open to break-ins, vandalism, and potentially fatal injury.
Or, he or she will have to settle for a spot simply because it’s close and finding a better one is no guarantee – resulting in poor shipping times, issues with driver performance, and possible injury. A major culprit of this issue: the shippers themselves. Many don’t allow truck parking on their properties, often resulting in needless tragedy.
Contributing to the Problem
The American Trucking Association (ATA) anticipates freight tonnage will grow 23.5% from 2013 to 2025 and that revenues will skyrocket 72%. The industry is ready to accommodate this demand by developing creative measures to recruit drivers, implementing safety and behavioral standards, and adhering to any new policies regulated by state and federal governments. Unfortunately, if funds or laws are not passed to answer the problem of inadequate parking, the hazards will grow exponentially.
Finding Solutions for Weary Drivers
Luckily, there are a few ways to deter this problem. Either through increased funding and infrastructure changes, new legislation, or technological innovations, these drivers need to know they are safe and won’t be left stranded in an unsecure location overnight. Solutions include:
- Shippers can allow parking. For many shippers, signing off on a successful delivery is the most important goal. Unfortunately, many truckers are left to return home or move on at the end of a long, exhausting drive. Shippers could leave their gates (and parking spaces) open for these workers. While this may affect overhead, overall transportation savings, quality of service, and driver safety offset these costs.
Technological innovations. Software platforms are being developed and improved to safely direct truckers to secure locations. Enterprises like CoPilot lets drivers plan routes
- based on their vehicle dimensions and load, and efforts like Traffic Path let teamsters find the nearest truck stops, parking, and rest areas.
Ultimately, freight brokers, shippers, and carriers need to understand the effect adequate parking has not only on shipping times and transport costs, but on driver safety and the shape the industry takes moving forward. With the right initiative and innovation, it is possible for all drivers to find a safe place to rest on the road.