Is the ATA honoring their pledge to the National Truck Parking Coalition?
It seems like yesterday that DOT released their Truck Parking Survey. The Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey and Comparative Assessment was conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to meet the requirements of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP- 21; P.L. 112-141) law that became effective on October 1, 2012.
(The Jason’s Law provision in the 2012 MAP-21 highway bill is named after murdered truck driver Jason Rivenburg.)
In 2009 Hope Rivenburg, the young widow of murdered trucker Jason Rivenburg, vowed to change the perils of the truck parking shortage by standing up and fighting for legislation, allowing for more safe truck parking.
Finally, the day long awaited for… The results of the DOT Truck Parking Survey and the forming of the National Truck Parking Coalition
On Friday August 21, 2015, an emotional day for Hope Rivenburg, who was the focal point of the truck parking survey announcement ceremony and the pledge signing commitment in Washington DC. The newly formed National Coalition on Truck Parking including prominent DOT reps, had their official briefing and truck parking commitment to support the need for more truck parking.
Hope Rivenburg, DOT reps and stakeholder groups all openly signed the pledge, forming the newly created National Coalition on Truck Parking.
Video of Jason’s Law Truck Parking Announcement, Signing, and Pledge
Stakeholders expected to be very active in the newly formed coalition include: FHWA, FMCSA the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
The first gathering of the Truck Parking Coalition was November 2015. With an interest in continuing the dialogue on national truck parking needs, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) formed a coalition of stakeholder organizations to help resolve truck parking problems. The four regional 2016 meetings brought together members of the coalition to identify strategies and approaches that address the parking needs of interstate truckers.
June 8 – Salt Lake City, Utah
July 12 – Hanover, Maryland
August 26 – Dallas, Texas
October 5 – Grain Valley, Missouri
As advocates for professional drivers, we are proud to announce that fellow truck driver advocate Desiree Wood, President of REAL Women In Trucking, attended all 4 meetings. Also attending all 4 meetings was Mr. Carl Rundell from “Truck Smart Parking Services“. Read more details about the summary of the 2016 meetings– “Truck Parking Coalition”
What we did find disturbing was that the trucking industry carriers, those who employ many of the millions of OTR truck drivers, did not attend.
As a matter of fact, Lisa Mullings CEO of NATSO remarked during the final meeting at OOIDA Headquarters “Where are the carriers in this conversation? They call themselves “Logistics” companies and they are dictating fuel stops and highway routing in the bigger carriers, Why aren’t they helping their own drivers with parking?”
Many of these carriers are active members of the American Trucking Association (ATA), one of the major stakeholders who openly signed the pledge to commit to the National Truck Parking Coalition. The ATA themselves did attend meetings, although I’m not sure how heartfelt a commitment or understanding of the truck parking shortage they have, which obviously affects many of their members’ employees health and safety, not to mention the safety of the general public. I only say this because just recently I read an article in Transport Topics, “Opinion: Significant Accomplishments; More to Be Done”
In the article it discussed the highway bill — the FAST Act — and how the legislation directs new funding to freight projects, specifically to highways. It discussed a number of what was considered the industry’s priorities, such as reforms to the CSA safety monitoring system and the ordering of the federal government to set hair testing standards for carriers to use in drug screenings, as well as making it easier for veterans to return to civilian life and begin careers in the trucking industry.
But nowhere was mentioned the Federal Priority for addressing the Truck Parking Shortage. I remind you, the ATA is a National Truck Parking Coalition Stakeholder.
The Freight Projects mentioned are stated in the FAST Act requirements which explains that each state must have an approved freight plan and freight network in place by December 2017 in order to continue to use their freight formula funds. The FAST Act: The Freight Provisions read more on how to take action. TRUCK PARKING IS ELIGIBLE for those funds!!
I can only hope, as part of Trucking Moves America Forward, the ATA and their members will re-evaluate the seriousness of the truck parking shortage and honor the work of widow Hope Rivenburg as she worked tirelessly to ensure Jason’s Law was included in MAP-21. We remind them that it is Truckers who move America Forward, and Truckers have the right to take their federally mandated Hours-of-Service break while resting in safe and adequate parking locations.
As part of the Call to Action, we are asking drivers, and all who care about drivers, to make the calls to the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO’s). MPO’s are responsible for planning metropolitan areas and this is where truck parking is the biggest problem. Currently, States have been tasked by the Federal government to do something they have never been required to do in the past, that is to create a freight plan.
Again,States must have an approved freight plan and freight network in place by December 2017 in order to continue to use their freight formula funds that were made available in FAST Act. See Link: The FAST Act: The Freight Provisions
This is a call to action; TELL THE MPO’s to include TRUCK PARKING in their FREIGHT PLAN
“How to Take Action on a Local Level for Truck Parking”
Here are the steps to follow:
- Use this link to the MPO Interactive Map to locate your State MPO contact information.
- Use the SAMPLE LETTER located on the MPO Interactive Map Link as a guide by using “cut and paste” and then revise the letter for your particular region and situation. You can use this link to download a PDF of the SAMPLE LETTER TO STATE AGENCIES. ( This letter is only a sample, it is not to be used verbatim, please personalize it to your situation).
(There are phone numbers listed also if you would rather call)
- Send a letter, email it or make phone calls to the state agencies you have selected from the MPO Interactive Map to explain the pertinent information in a respectful manner that includes asking if “truck parking is in the freight plan” and if they are aware that “truck parking is an eligible activity for FAST Act funds and it is necessary in their region”.
- Identify to these agency heads in your letter or phone call that the funds “can be used on eligible projects until December 2017. After that, they can only use them if they have their freight plan in place”. (Remember that eligible activities include truck parking and ITS type systems for information sharing and notifications).
- You can also help by calling State Motor Carrier Associations to make sure they understand that truck parking is an eligible project and asking them if they know “What’s in the freight plan?” for that State.
The goal is to make certain that the agency representative comes away from the conversation with awareness that truck parking is needed and eligible for funds for their state.
- If possible, get involved in State and MPO area freight advisory committees.
- Ask the State agencies that you contact: “What have you done to improve on Jason’s Law data since the report was published”?
If they have not heard of “Jason’s Law” ask them for their email to share this these links with them.
Listen to the Replay> Solutions to Improve Truck Parking with Host Allen Smith and Guests Nicole Katsikides Deputy Director of Maryland Department of Transportation Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering and Desiree Wood President REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.
© 2016, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.