Attention Shippers & Receivers -TIRED TRUCKERS NEED YOUR HELP!
It’s the end of a 12 to 14 hr day.
A day of traffic congestion, tight delivery/pickup schedules, pickup and delivery delays, weather, and when all the time on the job is considered (loading and unloading times) the driver is already nearing a 100 hrs on the job this week when he has arrived at a truck stop and discovered there are no parking places available.
Maybe there is a tight irregular space he could maneuver into if he could find a couple drivers to watch his vehicle corners and maybe the truck stop operators would not require him to move during the night because he is illegally parked.
If he calls his company they will blame him for not sufficiently planning his day, and besides, what can they do anyway, that is the only truck stop close to where he ran out of log hours, which naturally was his fault.
Very often, I have watched tired drivers circle and circle the parking lot hoping they can snag a spot, before the other drivers that are also circling await for another truck to pull out.
It is painful to watch this, because, we have all experienced the pain and agony of being tired to the bone and no place to park. I challenge anyone reading this article to travel to a truck stop after 6 PM and observe this part of a professional driver’s life.
Is this how American industry treats their professional drivers?
There have recently been truck parking conferences, the National Truck Parking Coalition, who are discussing solutions to this issue.
Read More: Truck Parking Coalition proceeds to focus on parking crisis
An interesting observation by the attendees was that trucking management had nearly no participation. Read more : Is ATA honoring pledge to the Truck Parking Coalition?
Interesting, the LTL employers don’t have this problem. They assume the responsibility of providing parking for their drivers. It is built into their business pricing, because, they don’t see their drivers as trucking gypsies.
Problem is, except for the few drivers that can afford to attend these conferences, some believe the other participants don’t fully understand the whole context of the problem. According to many however, attendees, including the DOT and FHWA, very much understand are dedicated to finding solutions. Driver comments needed NOW to improve Rest Area Parking
Myself and other drivers see little value in the millions of dollars spent seeking high technology solutions of computerized rest areas and truck stops. Although the technology may help wasting time searching for parking, the bottom line is…WE NEED MORE TRUCK PARKING.
Example: I can check my cell phone app for parking info 30 miles ahead. Elementary problem here is, it is illegal for me to use phone while driving and otherwise just dangerous.
Well, pull over to check the app, “emergency parking only” on shoulders and again very dangerous.
Driver eventually decides which action is less of a risk at that time and discovers there is one parking space open 30 miles away, great! Except that the ten trucks ahead of him are all heading for the same space!
Unless somehow drivers can reserve a space, it’s just a poor gamble.
Tech people say we will have other options at other locations that will be displayed on the app.
But what about log time travel to other locations that may now be off route, this may require the driver to work in violation of log rules, not to mention the fatigue conditions the driver is already experiencing that I mentioned earlier.
I believe one solution that would solve multiple problems would be parking at or near shipper and consignee facilities. Example Safe Haven Truck Parking -Shippers receivers step up
The reserved parking could mostly be eliminated, and because the driver is at his destination he will rest better and would not have to deal with 2-3 hours of congestion in the morning traffic.
Other commuters would have fewer trucks to slow the commute and this would reduce accidents.
The driver would intelligently decide to wait until after the evening commute to drive to his delivery/pickup.
In fact, most of the time he will be traveling opposite of the commute. Again, much safer, and fewer accidents.
If there are those in the supply chain that understood this, they could make a tired driver’s life better, and this would be better for their own businesses because the truck would not be late due to traffic congestion.
Would the location be safe for the driver to sleep overnight in his truck?
We would only need access to toilet facilities, porta johns are acceptable (if they get serviced) etc.
One consignee in the Portland, Or area used to provided overnight parking for deliveries, but withdrew the policy, because, “next day his maintenance people had to clean up human waste”.
That action seems to be fair, except, believe it or not, truck drivers are not yet robots, we have human needs too.
Wouldn’t a porta john be an affordable solution?
Could the customers allow overnight truck parking in employee parking areas till next morning?
I believe if we could get the customer to appreciate the “problem”, they may introduce new solutions, after all, late shipments create many other issues.
I know that this is not the total answer to the parking problem.
There is not a one silver bullet answer, but, every truck that we can get to another location will open parking to trucks that are still enroute to delivery or pickup and this reduce commuting congestion.