The U.S. Department of Transportation said it will organize a national coalition of stakeholders to address the issue of the lack of parking capacity for big trucks across the country.
The department made the announcement in late August as it released survey results that show truck parking shortages result in serious safety issues. For example, tired truck drivers may stay on the road if they can’t find a convenient place to stop and rest. Also, truckers may end up parking in unsafe locations such as vacant lots, exit ramps, or on the shoulder of the road.
The survey, “Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey Results and Comparative Analysis,” takes its name from a law created in memory of murdered truck driver Jason Rivenburg. In 2009, while on the road in South Carolina, Rivenburg grew tired and realized he needed to park his truck and take a nap. With no rest stations nearby, he parked his 18-wheeler at an abandoned roadside gas station late at night. As he slept, Rivenburg was shot through the window and robbed of $7 by a man who wanted money to feed a drug habit.
Jason’s Law, passed by Congress in late 2012, promotes the funding of parking improvement projects and studies of the parking issue.
“We know truck parking has been a longstanding problem in our nation – we need new approaches to fix it,” said U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez. “Now more than ever, this country needs better planning, investment, and involvement of all those who have a stake in safe truck parking.”
Over the next few months, the USDOT will bring together stakeholders under the umbrella of a National Coalition on Truck Parking to develop solutions to meet the parking needs of U.S. truck drivers. The coalition will consist of representatives of local and state governments, trucking and business communities, and law enforcement agencies.
Highway safety depends in part on making sure hardworking, professional truck drivers have a safe place to recuperate after spending hours on the road,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “We at FMCSA are committed to addressing this shortage of safe and convenient truck parking for the drivers who do so much to advance our economy.”