Almost everyday I read somewhere that “drivers need to trip plan better”, many drivers including myself take great offence to that statement. The lack of parking has nothing to do with our trip planning capabilities, it’s a very real reality we face everyday. For many drivers our trip is planned before we leave the yard, we can even tell you where we’ll fuel and be stopping for the night. What we can’t predict is the border, shipper/receiver, accidents or construction delays, and these all play a role in finding safe parking.
Truck stops are closing and barricading their lots so we can’t park there anymore, old weigh stations have blocked entrances, rest areas are closed or under construction, shippers and receivers restrict the ruck parking. More and more were seeing “No Truck Parking” or “No Trucks Allowed” signage. Take a look the next time you’re traveling down the highway, how many trucks do you see parked on a ramp or the side of the road, often these drivers are woken up by the police, given a ticket and told to move, regardless of the fact they are out of hours.
Do you think we feel safe on a ramp? Do you think we actually get restful sleep? If you answered yes to those questions you better think again!!
Let’s not forget the big chain truck stops where ¾ of the parking lot is now paid reserved parking now, since ELD implementation all they see are dollar signs. These costs range from $15 to $30 depending where you are, some go up in $2 increments per hour depending on the time of day, some offer a discount on breakfast when you paid to park but the restaurant doesn’t open until 630 or 7. How many carriers are paying for parking, this isn’t an expense company drivers can claim on their taxes. Let’s be realistic how many companies can afford these costs on a daily basis for every truck in their fleet.
In many cases parking spots are pretty full by 6 or 7pm. Do I risk going further and possibly getting a violation under the HOS if I don’t find a spot in time or possibly being late with my load.
As drivers we’ve seen one parking study or survey after another over the last few years with zero results. Is it really that hard to put in safe parking with washroom facilities. We’re not asking for much, just to be treated like human beings.