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Parking shortages make it difficult to tackle driver fatigue

Federal trucking regulations seek to improve safety on the roads and reduce truck accidents. But, truck drivers and trucking companies might encounter difficulties when trying to comply with these regulations. Because of that, this could present some dangerous situations on the roads, possibly increasing the possibility of a truck crash.

Driver fatigue is a growing concern across the trucking industry. However, truck drivers do not always have an available and safe place to stop their rig and get some rest. According to a study by the Federal Highway Administration, there is a national safety concern regarding truck drivers driving while they are tired or pulling their vehicle on the shoulder of a road or an exit ramp to spend the night there.

Ideally, every truck driver that is required to rest should have access to a safe, clean and full service parking space to gain the amount of rest they need before hitting the road again. However, parking shortages are making this challenging for truck drivers. The study found that there is often a mismatch when it comes to driver demand and the availability of adequate parking spaces at a specific point and time.

This study found that more than 75 percent of the truck drivers surveyed regularly had trouble finding a safe place to park when it was required for them to rest or they were starting to feel tired. Moreover, roughly 90 percent reported that they struggled to find parking at night. This situation has caused some drivers to park in unofficial or illegal truck parking places or continue to drive past their hours of service to locate a safe parking place.

The trucking industry is expected to expand by 29 percent over the next 11 years, so it is critical that the parking issue is properly addressed. It can be difficult for truck drivers to comply with trucking regulations if the conditions around them make it challenging. Moreover, while driver fatigue often places liability on the truck driver, this situation could mean additional responsible parties in the event of a truck accident resulting in injuries or fatalities.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Study Finds Shortage of Truck Parking a 'Safety Concern'," Betsy Morris, August 21, 2015

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