Far from just a ‘driver gripe’: Parking a growing concern for fleets, too

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Updated Nov 30, 2015

TN rest area parking

Following the American Transportation Research Institute’s release last week of its top 10 critical industry issues report, Overdrive surveyed readers as to their own top concerns among ATRI’s top 10. A lot of common ground exists – four of the top five noted concerns (shown below from our polling) are shared among owner-operators and the mostly fleet representatives in ATRI’s survey.

Owner-operators’ top five — percentages indicate the share who named the issue their top concern 

Notably, a perennial concern of drivers and owner-operators stood tall in the ranks at the No. 6 position in ATRI’s survey: “Truck parking,” which early this year was high on a list of recommended safety action items from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee. The ATRI report stressed that the top favored strategy for dealing with the problem among respondents was to “support and encourage investment in new truck parking facilities and work to reopen closed public rest facilities.” The issue was included for the first time in the ATRI top 10 in 2012, the report notes, as “the [then proposed changes to the] HOS rules brought heightened awareness to the dramatic shortage of safe and available parking.”

Reader Terry Maher, commenting on Overdrive’s Facebook page, expressed wonder at the seeming lack of attention to the parking issue over the years, despite the codification of “Jason’s Law” in the MAP-21 highway bill in 2012. “Jason’s Law gets nowhere,” Maher said. “Yet liability insurance and everything FMCSA wants gets fast-tracked through.” Maher wouldn’t be the first driver to remark on the underutilization of the monies available to states for truck parking under the MAP-21 provision.

If the ATRI survey is any indication, fleet reps also are taking notice in large numbers.