It’s the same routine for nearly every trucker – long days on the road with few breaks, only to fight for a safe spot to sleep at night. After hours spent driving, the last thing truckers should have to worry about is parking, and yet this is a persistent problem across the nation.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, nearly all of the estimated 185,000 open parking spots across the country are filled up every night. These numbers are only diminishing as more interstate truck stops are closing due to a lack of funding.
This can lead drivers to resort to parking on the side of the road or in the parking lots of closed shopping centers with little to no security. And even if you are lucky enough to find a spot at a designated truck stop, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be safe there either.
The Coming Solution
Drivers are in desperate need of a solution to this parking crisis, and that may come in the form of a new mobile app coming late summer 2016.
Soon (put perhaps not soon enough) drivers who need to stop, park, and rest will be able to access a free app called Park My Truck. This will give drivers the ability to “check-in” at different stops across the country in order to indicate how many spaces are left per stop.
The software comes as a response to findings from organizations like the American Transportation Research Institute, ranking parking management as “one of the industry’s top 5 most pressing concerns.”
Already, 39 states and counting have recorded issues with parking space availability for trucks. Lisa Mullings, president of the National Association of Truckstop Owners (NATSO) commented that
“federal and state governments have spent decades and millions of dollars researching truck parking and testing technology-based approaches to counting available spaces, but not one of these efforts has yielded nationwide data about parking availability.”
Considering that the industry is still millions of dollars away from implementing an electronic system that is able to count parking nationwide, mobile applications like Park My Truck seem to be the next best, and immediate solution.
The Pressing Need for Parking
To get an idea of how pervasive this problem really is, the ATRI began asking drivers to keep 14-day logs to help document the extent of the lack of parking. This is essentially what Park My Truck will allow drivers to do, except on a much larger scale and with greater connectivity.
Making sure drivers have a safe place to rest is of the utmost importance and can’t be taken lightly.
Back in 2009, driver Jason Rivenburg was robbed at gunpoint while looking for parking for the night. Sadly, he lost his life during the incident and his killer was later apprehended. This led to the creation of Jason’s law, which aims to address the ongoing driver safety and security concerns nationwide.
It’s events like these that remind us just how necessary it is to find safe parking and rest stops while traveling across the country. You never know what hazards lie around each turn, yet with apps like Park My Truck and others surely to come, we’re one step closer to a more connected and secure transportation industry.