By Mark Solomon of FreightWaves,
Americans value commercial truck drivers and the service they provide. However, they don’t want drivers to park their facilities near their homes.
That was a key finding in a 2023 survey of truck parking issues released Tuesday by CloudTrucks, an IT-based provider that supports the commercial trucking industry. About 56% of the 1,000 American adults surveyed were not familiar with the issue. Around 21% did not realize that many drivers end up sleeping in their vehicles, reflecting a lack of awareness of the inconvenience and safety risks they face on a daily basis without sufficient dedicated parking capacity.
Once these aspects were explained, 86% recognized truck parking as an important issue and 95% supported the construction of overnight parking lots.
However, 80% said they would only support building facilities if they were at least 3 miles from their home.
Around two-thirds of respondents called for more government funding to tackle the parking shortage, including building more truck stops and rest areas. About 43 percent said they would support relaxed zoning and land use regulations that could pave the way for more parking. About 40 percent supported giving tax incentives to truck stop operator chains and other private businesses to create more parking.
The survey indicated that Americans understand the difficulty of drivers’ jobs and the value they provide. The vast majority of respondents thought drivers were overworked. About 58% said drivers were underpaid and about 50% said commercial drivers are safer drivers than the general public.
Despite the “”not in my backyard”” comments, the survey findings gave CloudTrucks executives optimism that the public at least understands the issue. CloudTrucks co-founder and CEO Tobenna Arodiogbu said it’s important to ensure know that “resources provided to truck drivers are commensurate with how much we value their service to our economy.”
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was incorporated into the SHIP IT Act introduced in the House on January 24. The law provides $755 million over four years (fiscal years 2023-26) in grants specifically dedicated to the creation and expansion of truck parking facilities.
Eligible entities include states, metropolitan planning organizations, and local governments, which may partner with private entities. In addition to building new parking facilities, the law also opens up weigh-in and inspection stations and drive-through locations to expanded truck parking.