Truck parking has always been a significant problem for both driver and public safety. The pandemic and resulting hours of service extensions have made it even more of a problem, particularly as drivers are driving longer hours on sometimes unfamiliar routes, where some rest areas have been closed and temporary ones added. Drivers don’t know when or where they’re going to be able to park next.
Drivers have been putting in hours not seen since the 1960s. And at the same time, they’re spending more time detained at each end of their routes due to resource challenges that delay loading and unloading – which means drivers who are paid by the mile are driving longer hours but earning less money. All of this means drivers are operating long days under tremendous stress.
As we have previously posted in our blog, truck parking in North America is broken , and while the pandemic has brought additional complexity, we have been very impressed by the actions many states have taken to leverage their infrastructure and technology investments in order to help mitigate these problems right now.
A number of states have worked to establish safe places for drivers to park by allowing long term parking at weigh stations and by working with Drivewyze to let drivers know where they can park safely. Drivewyze has voluntarily added free rest area alerts and parking availability notifications into its core in-cab driver messaging system, helping drivers find a safe place to park. Drivewyze recently hosted a webinar to discuss how to leverage the infrastructure and technology for disaster response. The webinar can be accessed here.
Over the last several years, Intelligent Imaging Systems has built Smart Truck Parking solutions to help states collect parking availability data and share this information with drivers, using both variable road signs and in-truck messaging. Though is going to take a lot of planning and effort to fix the truck parking problem long term, it has been gratifying over these recent months to have witnessed the kind of collaboration taking place between state inspection agencies, departments of transportation and technology providers to help make things better today.