The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently released the results of their survey on parking for the trucking industry. Generally, drivers want a reserved parking system in safe locations. Yet drivers are not willing to pay for the reserved areas themselves. In fact, of the 1,417 commercial drivers surveyed, almost half actually refused to pay for parking.
According to the ATRI, employee drivers singled out their carrier to pay for parking. And the results of the survey present the strong argument from professional drivers against paying themselves, since it is a state budget issue to open parking capacity to fit driver needs.
An added complication is that changes in both supply chain structures and in the trucking industry itself mean that truckers now need parking spots in new and different places. Replacing lost parking and expanding existing parking isn’t necessarily the answer. The survey addressed this issue as well, soliciting feedback on where truckers want to be able to park. With 52% of for-hire drivers and 39% of fleet drivers said they want reserved parking around major metropolitan areas. Smaller numbers of both groups, 26% and 32%, respectively, simply want reserved parking everywhere.
The issue is not just finding an open spot to park a truck. As things stand, the shortage of safe parking places often forces drivers to take their rest breaks on the side of the road or in other unsafe areas where they are vulnerable to theft, and sometimes violence as demonstrated with the 2009 death of trucker, Jason Rivenburg.
Part of the reason why the United States trucking industry has a critical shortage of drivers is that commercial driving is a demanding, at times difficult and dangerous job. And while carriers can improve their recruitment methods and increase driver compensation, as long as working as a trucker carries an elevated risk of unsafe work-related issues, the appeal of these careers will be limited.
For the time being, carriers can help their employees stay safe by using GPS tracking solutions to help them locate existing safe parking areas with selected points of interest in the tracking system. The selected areas can be assigned to specific drivers, where the selection appears on the drivers’ in-cab display, allowing them to easily route and navigate to their safe parking spot.
With the collaboration of drivers, carriers and customers, safe and effective parking areas can be developed to meet everyone’s needs.