MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — There’s no doubt about it – North America has a truck parking problem. With the introduction of mandatory electronic logging devices (ELD) in the U.S. last December the issue has become critical.
Speaking about the issue to Truck World audiences, researcher Philip Bigelow said recent surveys show up to 49% of drivers report exceeding their hours of service (HoS) in order to find parking.
While HoS regulations didn’t change when ELDs became mandatory, the use of the devices has made it easier for law enforcement officials to spot those not following the rules, putting more pressure on drivers to find parking before their hard stop time each day.
“Guess what, you can’t ignore it anymore… there’s going to be no way out,” Bigelow said.
Drivers reported wasting 30 to 60 minutes a day looking for parking, something that not only affects HoS but also sucks up productive hours, eating away at the bottom line.
While ELDs have brought a new focus to the issue, Bigelow says the problems with parking are hardly new.
Transport Canada conducted surveys and an environmental review nearly a decade ago in 2009 showing the need for more truck parking in Canada. The report included recommendations and strategies for fixing the issue.
Additional surveys nearly 20 years ago showed drivers struggling with availability of safe spots to stop, with 50% of drivers reporting trouble finding parking. Those numbers rose to 80% in 2015.
The increase in available parking isn’t just a financial or regulatory one. Bigelow says truck drivers – already one of the least health occupations – need breaks to avoid fatigue and sleep issues, and to increase the opportunity to get adequate food and exercise. Having to search for parking, or having to stop in unsafe spaces, leaves drivers open to more health problems.
Bigelow says the way to solve the truck parking problem is to involve governments, fleets, drivers, private rest stop organizations, and other stakeholders in ongoing conversations about the issue.
Bigelow urged drivers from across Canada and the U.S. to continue to participate in surveys so researchers and governments get an accurate picture of the parking situation.
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