The lack of secure parking spots for truckers is no secret in the industry. In fact, many argue the driver shortage problem is caused in part by drivers leaving the industry because of the added stress of finding a place to rest at night, in addition to focusing on operating safely.
Jason Rivenburg was a truck driver who was attacked and murdered by robbers in 2009 when he parked his truck in an unsafe area.
Since her husband’s death, Hope Rivenburg has become a dedicated advocate for safe parking areas for truckers. She was instrumental in getting a provision, known as Jason’s Law, into the 2012 MAP-12 highway bill.
Jason’s Law required the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a national study on parking availability. The recent results of the DOT’s study reveal only 12 states have adequate safe parking for truck drivers. In all others, truckers have to take their chances. Many resort to freeway ramps, abandoned gas stations, or industrial parking lots.
The DOT has also created the National Coalition on Truck Parking and charged the new body with finding both short- and long-term solutions to the parking shortage. The coalition has a long list of member organizations, including: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; American Trucking Associations; Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance; Federal Highway Administration; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; National Association of Truck Stop Operators; and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. Other interested parties, such as trucking organizations and state transportation departments, are also invited to participate.
As the coalition works to build more truck stops, they must also discover how many are necessary, where they should be placed, and, most importantly, how to pay for them. A big part of the problem has been the ongoing issues with the Highway Trust Fund. Since Congress has only been passing short-term extensions to the Fund, states have been unable to commit to any kind of long-term infrastructure projects, making budgeting a challenge with so much financial uncertainty.
The creation of the coalition is certainly good news, but until it completes its initiative, drivers must still cope with a dangerous lack of safe places to rest. In the meantime, fleet managers can help drivers plan ahead and efficiently navigate their journey by incorporating a GPS tracking solution into their fleet operations.
Teletrac’s Landmarks feature allows fleet managers to focus on selected points of interest, including safe places to rest and park. The selected landmark can be assigned to specific drivers, where it appears on their in-cab display, allowing them to easily route and navigate to their safe parking spot.
As the National Coalition on Truck Parking and Jason Rivenburg’s widow continue to advocate and build safe parking areas for drivers, fleet managers can do the same and maintain the safety of their drivers with some help from GPS tracking software.