We expect that discussions about the fate of jobs in the trucking industry won’t be over any time soon. But in the meantime, there are some meaningful measures being taken to better conditions for truckers.
A recent Bloomberg article highlights two issues that are all-too-familiar to most truckers: the limited availability of parking and the web of federal regulations for driving. Federal regulations now restrict driving time and make regular breaks mandatory. Specifically:
- Drivers cannot work more than 70 hours over eight days.
- A workday consists of 14 consecutive hours.
- Only 11 hours of a workday can be spent driving.
- 30-minute breaks must be taken at least every eight hours.
While these regulations certainly have their benefits in terms of health and safety, one of the shortfalls is that drivers must structure their travel around rest stops, which often means that their paychecks take a hit. Now in high demand, parking spaces that can accommodate trucks are harder and harder to find, and precious time can be wasted seeking them out (instead of covering mileage).
According to Fleet Owner, there’s a solution in the works from the Midwestern states of Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. This fall, the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials (MAASTO) will launch a $28.6 million roadside program that will alert drivers to how many truck parking spots are available at upcoming rest stops. Similar to the signs that alert drivers about upcoming traffic, detours or commute time, the Truck Parking Information and Management System (TPIMS) will provide parking information about 150 different parking sites on a number of highways in the Midwest that see a high volume of freight traffic.
While the current plan is to use signage to disseminate this information, the data will ultimately be made available to apps, travel websites and other platforms.
If you’re not frequenting this region, don’t worry; if the venture is successful (and we expect it will be), it’s likely to expand quickly. And in the meantime, apps like TruckerPath uses crowdsourcing to report parking availability at rest stops around the country.