The NTSB concluded there are not enough truck parking spaces available in some parts of the country, especially near urban areas and in parts of the Northeast and the South, according to the Associated Press
"Fatigue is one of the silent killers on our highways," said NTSB Chairman Jim Hall, saying how the shortage of truck parking spaces at night forces drivers to park on the shoulders or to keep driving when they are tired.
The NTSB recommended that the Federal Highway Administration, which is conducting its own study of the problem, ask Congress to drop a federal ban on private development of rest areas on some highways. This would allow private truckstops to potentially be built right on interstates.
NATSO, an association that represents travel plazas and truckstops, opposes lifting the ban. A spokesman told the AP that rest areas along interstate highways would keep truck drivers from patronizing private truckstops, putting them out of business.
NATSO recently launched a public awareness campaign urging drivers to "Drive Smart-Park Smart." A year-long series of ads in trucking publications will remind drivers and carriers of the hazards of illegally parking alongside the road and urges them to carefully plan their routes to make sure they will have a place to park at the end of the day.
The American Trucking Assns. says there is a growing need for tens of thousands of parking spaces. Proposed new hours of service regulations, if implemented as is, also would create a huge demand for more truck parking at night.
The NTSB also recommended that the Federal Highway Administration and other groups create a comprehensive guide for truck drivers to inform them of parking areas and space availability.