Last month, Joe Biden’s administration enforced the “Trucking Action Plan” as a part of the $2 trillion infrastructure bill that aims to address problems in nationwide transportation, such as supply chain blockages and driver shortages. But according to truck drivers, Biden’s plan failed to mention a crucial issue in the industry – parking.
While this might seem like small potatoes compared to the big picture, the lack of available parking spaces for trucks is one of the main reasons behind shipping delays. When truck drivers need to pull off for gas or supplies, they have to fight for the few designated parking spaces at rest stops or gas stations. And if there are none available, they have to drive in circles until another truck driver pulls out. Many times, for the sake of efficiency, drivers instead have to choose to park in illegal or dangerous spots.
Illinois truck driver Merry Leach is one of the many drivers that make our online orders and instant shipping possible. Leach believes that creating more parking spaces with help increase efficiency within the industry. The Illinois driver stated supply chains won’t improve “until drivers are able to utilize their whole 11 hour drive time driving, not driving around in circles, fighting for the next parking spot.”
And Leach wasn’t alone in her sentiments.
“Since most truck stops fill up between 4 pm and 6 pm, finding parking is a HUGE pain,” a Reddit user said in a trucking thread. “Basically there are way more trucks on the road now than there were 20 years ago and truck parking hasn’t changed to accommodate the new rigs.”
Parking Is Among the Top Five Issues for Truck Drivers
For a while, there was hope that Congress would address the parking issue when a highway bill provision reached the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, according to The American Transportation Research Institute, the bill was later removed.
In the Institute’s yearly report that highlights critical issues, parking was among the industry’s top five issues.
“This is the 10th year that the lack of available truck parking has made the top 10 list of industry concerns, and among commercial drivers, it has consistently ranked in their top three,” the report states.
To help make up for the time they spend searching for appropriate parking spots, truck drivers choose shorter routes to their destination, thus stunting their paychecks. Remember, truck drivers are paid by the mile, not by the hour. So, if they choose shorter routes, they choose lesser pay. According to Bloomberg, the parking space shortage is costing $4,600 a year on average.
Unfortunately, online orders aren’t becoming any less popular. And with more trucks entering the highways each year, the issue may only get worse.