As stated in our previous post, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) prioritized 10 issues that surfaced in its 16th annual survey. In our last blog post, we focused on driver shortage, retention and compensation. This post focuses on Truck Parking. Why? 5.3% of fatal crashes involved a parked or working large truck. 1
Since first appearing on the survey in 2012, the lack of available truck parking has been a perennial Top 10 issue. This year, Truck Parking ranks third overall, its highest rank yet. The pandemic clearly had an impact on the parking shortage in 2020 as a number of states shuttered their public rest areas, removing capacity from an already constrained system. In a joint ATRI and OOIDA Foundation research initiative conducted earlier this year, 44% of respondents indicated that truck parking was “somewhat harder” or “much harder” to find during the pandemic.2
What causes drivers to park in undesignated and, in many cases, unsafe locations?
- Compliance with HOS regulations
- Full truck stops and rest stops
- Personal breaks
- Cargo or vehicle inspections
- Maintenance issues
- Prioritizing on-time delivery over safety
This lack of available truck parking along some of the country’s busiest roadways creates a dangerous and costly dilemma for drivers often resulting in “sitting duck” situations that put drivers and the motoring public at risk. Sitting Duck is defined as a vehicle that comes to a stop, or has stopped for an extended period of time, or parked in a lane (stalled) or on the shoulder (sitting) where parking is not permitted and for reasons other than a traffic jam.
Unfortunately, Sitting Duck collisions and fatalities can lead to nuclear verdicts (more about those in our next blog post). In one instance, an Arizona state court jury found a trucking company responsible for the death of a driver who lost control of his car following a tire blowout and collision with a tractor-trailer parked 12 feet off the side of an interstate highway. The driver and trucking company were blasted with a $19.25 wrongful death verdict because the jury found that the driver had other safer places to park and had violated his company’s Sitting Duck policy.
SmartDrive SmartSense® for Sitting Duck can help alleviate these issues by:
- Detecting and reporting vehicles that have stopped, parked, or stalled in a potentially hazardous location
- Providing real-time data to assess the severity of the incident so immediate, corrective action can be taken
- Delivering video insight into why and where the driver is stopped or parked
“SmartSense for Sitting Duck technology helps us protect our drivers by alerting management that they may need help. We can then quickly advise our driver on how to handle the situation and, if necessary, provide support – or send assistance – and get them back on the road safely.” – Knight-Swift Transportation
Next up: Focus on Insurance Cost and Availability
2 “Covid-19 Impacts on the Trucking Industry.” American Transportation Research Institute and the OOIDA Foundation. April 2020. Available online: https://truckingresearch.org/2020/05/05/atri-and-ooida-covid-19-impacts-on-the-trucking-industry/