Over-the-road truckers have always faced safety challenges, but one that is currently making headlines is a lack of overnight parking. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) claims that this poses a “national safety concern” as it forces drivers to continue on when tired or to park illegally and risk becoming a crime victim. Some industry experts even believe that the shortage makes it difficult to retain good drivers-something that many trucking companies are already struggling with.
The reasons for the shortage are numerous. Over the past few years, many cities have introduced new legislation that bans truckers from parking in certain areas overnight. Others have already had this type of legislation on the books, but have only recently began enforcing it. In some locations, environmental groups have successfully lobbied against the expansion or building of new truck stops because they are concerned about excess emissions.
Because of the shortage, many truckers are unable to locate a safe place to park once they have reached their driving limit. They are then faced with a dilemma-continue on and break the law, or park in an area where bodily injury or the theft of their cargo is a real possibility. Some operators choose to park along off-ramps or even the side of the road, thereby becoming a traffic hazard for other motorists.
Until parking conditions improve, professional drivers must take extra measures when planning their trips, and should continue to network with other truckers to learn of safe parking areas that might not be widely advertised. Having the right trucking insurance will also provide peace of mind in the event that something unexpected does happen. To compare different policies and receive a no-obligation quote, please contact us.