U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Illinois) last week reintroduced the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which would dedicate federal funding for the expansion of truck parking capacity through the construction of new truck parking facilities, expansion of truck parking at existing rest areas or conversion of space at existing weigh stations.
The Truck Parking Safety Act, H.R. 2187, is an update of the same act (H.R.6104) introduced to the House last year. The legislation dedicates hundreds of millions of dollars to projects that would increase truck parking capacity, rather than electronic signage and other technology solutions that do not address the core issue of the parking shortage, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association officials said in a press release. Funding would be awarded on a competitive basis and applicants would be required to submit detailed proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The bill — cosponsored by Reps. Angie Craig (D-Minnesota), John Garamendi (D-California), Dusty Johnson (R-South Dakota), Susan Wild (D-Pennsylvania), and Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota) — has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
OOIDA has applauded the bipartisan group of representatives in a press release, saying that they have shown they understand the daily challenges hundreds of thousands of long-haul truckers face finding a safe place to park and comply with hours-of-service regulations.
“I grew up in a family trucking business and spent years driving over the road,” Bost said according to an OOIDA press release. “Since then, we’ve seen the need for more trucks and drivers increase significantly, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when trucking helped to keep our economy going. However, the number of truck parking spaces hasn’t kept pace. That means that drivers are forced to park in unsafe locations, which puts both them and other motorists at risk. Creating sufficient parking options for long-haul truckers will not only help keep truckers safe during their rest breaks but will also mean safer roads for everyone.”
OOIDA collaborated with industry stakeholders to develop and build support for the legislation. H.R. 2187 also has the support of the American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, National Association of Small Trucking Companies, National Motorists Association, Transportation Intermediaries Association, American Highway Users Alliance and the Institute for Safer Trucking.
“The severe shortage of safe parking presents truckers with an untenable dilemma: either keep driving when they are fatigued and possibly in violation of their federal hours-of-service requirement—or park in unsafe, sometimes illegal locations, such as a roadside shoulder,” said Chris Spear, ATA president and chief executive officer. “The health and wellbeing of our drivers, the safety of the motoring public, and the sustainability of our supply chain all depend on Congress addressing this issue with adequate funding in a surface transportation bill.”