Truck drivers’ industry groups are supporting the introduction of a federal bill that would guarantee truckers access to restroom facilities at freight yards and warehouses, saying that weary drivers are often turned away from bathrooms at those sites.
The bipartisan “Trucker Bathroom Access Act” is cosponsored by U.S. Reps. Troy E. Nehls (R-TX-22) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06). According to the representatives, the bill would ensure that truckers can access bathroom facilities when picking up or delivering cargo. The legislation would not require businesses to construct new restrooms, but rather to grant access to existing bathrooms already available to their customers or employees.
If passed, the legislation would apply to retailers, warehouses, and other businesses where truckers pick up cargo or make deliveries. It would also require the operators of ports and terminals to provide bathroom access to drayage drivers.
The bill’s sponsors said it would support the basic needs of professional drivers, including the growing number of female drivers that have entered the industry in recent years. “Especially as the trucking industry continues to face employee retention challenges, we must ensure that we provide truckers a working environment that honors their vital role in growing our economy. Ultimately, keeping more drivers on the road means fewer supply chain delays and lower costs,” Rep. Houlahan said in a release.
Support for the bill came from Ellen Voie, president and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association, and from Todd Spencer, president and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
“The men and women of America’s trucking industry keep our supply chain moving and it’s only reasonable that their most basic of needs be accommodated while they are on the job,” Spencer said in a release. “We’ve heard from countless drivers who have been forced to ‘hold it’ because they were not allowed to access the bathroom when they were picking up or delivering freight.”
The bill could also help businesses to become more competitive in the long run. Bathroom access for truckers has been cited for years as one step that DCs can take to become more worker-friendly and build their reputation as a "shipper of choice." By offering personal comforts and amenities, logistics sites can attract drivers who increasingly exercise personal choice on accepting certain loads and routes.