To: Person's Name & Title
Agency: Name and State
Subject: Are you overlooking eligible funds that could benefit highway safety?
The FAST Act mandates that every state has an approved freight plan and network in place by December 2017 to be eligible for continued use of their freight formula funds and federal FAST Lane grants available through the Act. As the deadline gets closer it's important that all parties understand the benefits and practicalities of the law.
The initiatives of the act will certainly help to improve some of the inefficiencies of the freight system in our country and address growing concerns of emissions. From a truck driver's perspective, there's a key issue that is not receiving the attention it deserves. Drivers face this issue on a daily basis and it's getting worse; unfortunately, it's not a widely known obstacle outside the driver community. It doesn't seem like a scary word but it strikes fear in the heart of every truck driver; PARKING. Hopefully after reading this letter, the word “parking” will trigger an alert as an urgent meaning for you too.
The problem of truck parking has been a core issue for truck drivers who literally have nowhere to go while waiting for strict appointment times set for pick-ups and deliveries. Even more critical is the unavailable truck parking needed in order for drivers to rest after driving 11 hours!
Lack of Truck Parking is a safety concern for everyone. It must be included in state freight plans and the conversation on where parking is needed should occur in the planning process. FHWA’s Jason’s law Study found that there was a disparity between the way states and truck drivers perceive the parking problem. Some states reported no problems with parking while thousands of drivers that responded to the survey for Jason’s Law unanimously said there were problems in every state in the nation and named locations.
- You're a driver hauling a load from ________ to __________
- You’ve been driving for nearly 11 hours which is the federal maximum before being mandated to park for 10 hours straight to rest.
- You're delivery appointment is at 6 AM; it's 4 AM now and you're 20 miles out of your delivery location, both of the local truck stops are beyond capacity
You've got options but none of them are good:
- Drive to the consignee (pickup/delivery) location and park outside the gate.
Downside: typically, consignees won't let you on their property until your appointment time so it's more likely than not you'll be chased away.
- Drive back to the last town or on to the next town hoping to find a truck stop with available spots.
Downside: In some areas this could be 70 miles which puts you in jeopardy of violating federal law.
- Park several hours out from the consignee where rural truck stops have greater capacity.
Downside: You would have to park far enough out to still get 10 straight hours in the sleeper berth to avoid being in violation of federal law and take the risk of encountering traffic accidents or congestion that could make you late for your appointment. Being late will likely cause you to be turned away. Since most drivers are not paid for their time, only for the miles they drive, this scenario jeopardizes maximum earning potential and any missed appointment could invoke a service failure on your driving record plus a penalty fee in some cases.
- Drive around and look for an alley, empty parking lot or out any place where you can park and rest until it's time get to your appointment.
Downside: You may find an out-of-the-way place to park but you could become a victim of a serious crime. Jason Rivenburg Murdered , Michael Boeglin Murdered, Jerry Matson Shot
- Drive around for 2 hours until delivery time.
Downside: You will take the chance of falling asleep at the wheel from fatigued driving in addition to violating federal “Hours of Service” regulations. (Sleepy Trucker Crashed in North Carolina)
We are asking you to please make truck parking part of your freight plan and address the critical need for that parking for the truck drivers who move interstate commerce.
The FAST Act requirements say that each state must have an approved freight plan and freight network in place by December 2017 in order to continue to use their freight formula funds that were made available in FAST Act. See Link: The FAST Act: The Freight Provisions Eligible activities include truck parking.
State education initiatives are needed on this topic. Community leaders in your state and associated metropolitan planning organizations (MPO’s) should be communicating with freight advisory committees to make certain truck parking is being addressed in your state freight plan. Public and private sector initiatives should be considered to allow unused or underutilized space for truck parking whenever possible. Your state will benefit from finding truck parking solutions:
- safer roads because truck drivers won't be driving tired or parked on highway ramps
- lower crime because truck drivers will be parking in sanctioned spots
- Economic efficiencies as goods are cheaper to move and cheaper to buy due to a more efficient route and parking system
Will you help us to achieve these goals? I'll be happy to provide additional information and truck driver perspective, feel free to ask me!