As the trucking industry continues to wrestle with a decades-long shortage of parking spaces for 18-wheelers, a new survey shows that most Americans are unaware that the issue exists, according to transportation technology provider CloudTrucks.
The shortage can easily lead to safety issues when drowsy drivers near their maximum daily service levels struggle to find parking and are forced to park along the side of the road or near exit ramps, the firm said. CloudTrucks is a San Francisco-based startup that provides a business management software platform for owner-operators and small trucking carriers.
The study comes as politicians have recently introduced two bipartisan bills in Congress to find solutions. The “Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act” was introduced in the U.S. Senate in December, and the “Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act” was unveiled in January. A third bill, also launched in December, would likewise attempt to improve truckers’ quality of life on the job by ensuring they have reliable access to restrooms.
Despite those high-profile initiatives, CloudTrucks says its research found that most Americans don't even know there is a nationwide truck parking crisis. The survey also identified a potential hurdle to solving the problem, finding that most Americans are actually in favor of adding more truck parking and want government to act now to address the shortage… as long as the new parking is not in their backyard.
The findings come from the firm’s “2023 Truck Parking Shortage Survey,” an online study of 1,000 U.S. adults on Feb. 17-18, 2023, conducted by the third-party survey platform Pollfish.
The results showed that respondents have positive sentiments toward truck drivers in general, with 82% saying drivers are “overworked,” 58% saying they are “underpaid,” and 50% saying that truckers are “safer drivers than the general public.” But 56% said they were unaware “that there is a nationwide shortage of parking for long-haul truck drivers.”
Asked about government solutions to the parking shortage, 67% said that the government should “increase funding for truck parking infrastructure, such as rest areas and truck stops,” compared to 43% who favored “relaxed zoning and land use regulations” and 40% who supported “tax incentives for truck stop chains, trucking companies, and other private companies.”
But few respondents want those sites to be in their own neighborhoods. The survey asked “How close to your home would you support the construction of new overnight parking facilities for long-haul truckers?” and found that 80% only support facilities that are at least three miles from their homes. Just 15% said they are comfortable with facilities being within 2 miles of their homes.
According to CloudTrucks co-founder and CEO Tobenna Arodiogbu, those results show that increased public awareness can be a game-changer for solving the parking crisis. “America’s truck parking shortage is dangerous for drivers and the public and costly for the broader transportation and logistics industry. As these survey results indicate, when Americans are educated about the gravity of the problem, they want to see action,” Arodiogbu said. “We all can play a part in ensuring that the resources provided to truck drivers are proportional to how much we value their service in our economy.”