The shortage of parking for truck drivers has been a recurring issue in the trucking industry for decades, but the problem has reached crisis proportions in the US, and it seems to be something that nobody wants in the neighborhood.
Back in August, New York City launched the operation “Heavy Duty Enforcement” to stop the illegal parking of commercial vehicles: NYPD officers issued 597 summonses, attached 89-wheel clamps, and towed 55 illegally parked vehicles in the first five days. The city of San Antonio, Texas, banned truck parking in residential areas between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and it is now considering the extension of the overnight ban on all streets.
According to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, there is only one parking spot available for every 11 trucks on the road, and a nationwide shortage of more than 40,000 parking spaces. The American Trucking Association says truck drivers spend an average of 56 minutes a day looking for a free spot to stop and rest.
Issues in truck parking obviously affect professional drivers and their job, but they also degrade safety on the road. When drivers are near to their service maximums, they may be forced to park on the shoulders of freeways, along the side of suburban roads, in abandoned lots, or in other unsafe locations. There are no official estimates of accidents and crashes relatable to bad truck parking, but it’s easy to understand that tired and stressed drivers are not in ideal working conditions.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is now taking action and has just announced more than $80 million grants to support truck drivers. The grants include a 65% increase in funding for truck parking projects over last year and improve overall road safety. Local initiatives are on their way too. The New York City Council agreed to create at least three new long-term truck parking locations in the city, providing feasible and appropriate off-street rest spots for commercial vehicles and drivers.
Smart technologies can also help. Our Smart Parking Sensors can be installed to detect vehicle occupancy and enable the remote monitoring of truck parking along highways, in logistics and shipping facilities, as well as in coach and bus areas. Data are sent to our Smart CMS and can be seamlessly shared with third-party applications to feed variable message panels, onboard truck infotainment systems or dedicated mobile apps to inform drivers about real-time parking availability and direct them to the nearest free spots.