Is There Enough Safe Parking for Trucks in the US?

truck parking
by Arthur Williamson

There’s been a debate in the US about additional safe parking provisions for truck parking. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) studies, 75% of US truck drivers have problems with parking shortages and lack of security.

Due to these shortages, truck drivers made parking violations while using their hours of service (HOS) limits to search for safe and large enough parking lots. This resulted in road congestions and drivers breaking laws and regulations by illegal parking and going beyond their time limit on the road.

This can cause problems for their safety and the safety of those on the road. Drivers who can’t find adequate parking spots will lose the opportunity to rest, and are likely to push their limits until they find the next resting spot. Others tend to pull over to the side of the road. 

In any case, not having enough rest while on the road can be life-threatening. In fact, in just a matter of 10 years, there are already 20 fatigue-related truck crashes in the US.

Furthermore, according to American Trucking Associations (ATA), there were $5,500 lost wages annually due to lack of available spaces. In turn, the US legislation separated a budget from existing Department of Transportation funds for truck parking spots.

How FHA and Other Administrations Address the Truck Parking Congestion

Truck Parking Congestion

In recent years, more institutions made efforts to search for solutions to provide safe and adequate parking for trucks. Sooner, other funding programs jumped in to assist improvements for the building project. These include Jason's Law, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), The Safe, and Accountable, among others. 

SAFETEA-LU requested $231 million from FHWA to fund parking-related projects, but they were only given $34 million of funds. They allocated these funds for 20 projects. On the other hand, the $1 billion was given by Jason’s Law from 2010 to 2015 to begin the projects for safe parking.

Despite all these efforts for safe and adequate parking in the US, there are still 37 states suffering from the same problem. This can only mean that each state needs to have its own unique solution to this problem.

The Real Problem Behind the Parking Lots in the US

While there are a lot of parking spots available in central areas, the real problem is that it’s not suitable to hold a number of trucks. Not to mention, the location can prove to be difficult to get to for large trucks, and the poor condition of some parking lots may be dangerous for some trucks to drive on.

Additionally, signs like “No Truck Parking” or “No Tractor Trailers” cause truck drivers to park in illegal areas—which can increase the likelihood of accidents. 

Officials and truck owners often don’t understand that these are the reasons why the problems remain. Solutions such as limiting their time on the road and creating hours of service (HOS) rules do little to solve the problem. If anything, it can cause more trouble—with a limit on their time, truck drivers may drive over the limit and cause accidents. 

The Issue in Parking Lots is a Problem for Everyone  

The real problem is that people only want to have their goods right away, but they are not aware of how these goods reach the destination—including the hardships and challenges truck drivers experience.

Also, if the authority limits trucks on the road, there would be more problems in the distribution of goods and people's basic needs. So, the problem is not only for drivers, companies, or businesses alone. But it affects everyone in the country.

What Happens If Accidents Occur? 

Given the risk that the lack of parking spots poses and how prominent this problem is—it’s safe to assume that accidents can and will occur. Fortunately, trucking owners are often equipped with commercial truck insurance. This is because it’s a requirement to operate. 

The Need for Commercial Truck Insurance

Commercial truck insurance covers the freight damages, property damages, and injuries caused by your company’s truck. Before operating a truck, it is essential to have primary liability and general liability types of insurance.

A truck with commercial truck insurance can bring peace of mind to the driver, truck owner, and the people around the vehicle. In the case of an accident, there is assurance that some portion of the damages will be covered. 

Fortunately, there different types of commercial truck insurance and coverages for different types of situations and vehicle types. From general and professional liability to truck cargo and physical damage coverage, almost any situation can be covered. 

However, it’s important to note that despite having commercial insurance—this does mean that the problem of the lack of parking spaces shouldn’t be solved. This is the root of the problem, and eliminating this will get rid of the risks that it brings.

That said, coming up with a solution requires input from the drivers themselves. It’s essential to know the driver’s perspective before starting programs to increase freight volumes, or funding projects for truck parking solutions. 

The best way to provide solutions is to learn the user's perception about safe and adequate parking to assist the state and federal agencies in making an appropriate solution to the problem.

Creating more parking spaces for trucks can eliminate a host of problems and reduce the risk of accidents on the road. While insurance can cover any damages—it shouldn’t be the solution to this problem.

If you’re interested in reading more about the commercial trucking industry and insurance in general, check out Assured Standard today!

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