We’ve heard or read time and time again how parked semis on major highways have led to some pretty serious accidents—some fatal. Just this month in Houston, Texas a semi parked on a highway shoulder for two days was involved in a crash that claimed the life of 42-year-old Marcus Fulton. The driver, 68-year-old Blooki Yahya was with the truck, in the sleeper when the accident happened. He was treated and released from the hospital.
Two months earlier, a woman died after crashing her car into an 18-wheeler parked on the side of another major Houston highway. According to authorities, the woman apparently did not see the truck on the side of the road before slamming into the back end. She reportedly died on impact.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration is on a mission to reduce the amount of semis parked along major U.S. highways. In fact, the agency recently conducted a study which revealed some pretty unsettling results.
USDOT authorities discovered that almost half of the state departments of transportation surveyed reported that truckers were forced to park on freeway interchange ramps and shoulders of highways, in turn, representing a major safety issue.
“We know truck parking has been a longstanding problem in our nation and we need new approaches to fix it,” said U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez. “Now more than ever, this country needs better planning, investment, and innovation from those who have a stake in safe truck parking and transportation.”
The National Coalition on Truck Parking announced that it will continue working to find solutions to truck parking needs and will include the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Trucking Associations, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance in finding these solutions.
“Without truck drivers, America’s businesses would suffer and the economy would come to a halt,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “They deliver the goods and products we use every day, and are critical to safe freight movement in our country.”
“Highway safety depends in part on making sure hardworking, professional truck drivers have a safe place to recuperate after spending hours on the road,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “We at FMCSA are committed to addressing this shortage of safe and convenient truck parking for the drivers who do so much to advance our economy.”
The “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” Act (MAP-21) required the USDOT to conduct the survey to determine if adequate parking is available for truck drivers based on the level of commercial traffic in the state. Along with state departments of transportation, the USDOT surveyed safety officials, truckers and truck stop operators, and other trucking industry stakeholders.
The Department’s findings in the “Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey Results and Comparative Analysis” show most states reported having truck parking shortages occurring at all times of the day on every day of the week. The analysis includes a discussion of the factors that can influence truck parking and offers ways to improve the measurement of the truck parking problem, including the collection of data on supply and demand, congestion and safety.
Over the coming months, representatives with the USDOT and National Coalition on Truck Parking say they will begin discussions with state and local governments, law enforcement and the trucking and business communities to work together to advance truck parking solutions to meet the needs of the nation’s truck drivers.