Truck parking has appeared on the American Transportation Research Institute's (ATRI) Top 10 Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry list since 2012, and it was the fifth highest-ranking issue of industry concern in ATRI’s latest report. Among driver concerns, it tied with driver compensation as the top concern.

“This is the 10th year that the lack of available truck parking has made the top 10 list of industry concerns, and among commercial drivers, it has consistently ranked in their top three," ATRI wrote in its annual report.

Concerns over parking have increased due to hours of service and electronic logging mandates, which are causing more drivers to look for parking at the same time. ATRI reported that drivers will often park earlier to ensure they find safe parking prior to running out of hours of service. The lost wages associated with an early exit from revenue trips average over $4,600 annually per driver

ATRI issued several proposed strategies in its report to address parking concerns, including creating a new, dedicated federal funding program designed to increase truck parking capacity at freight-critical locations, encouraging local and regional governments to reduce the regulatory burdens limiting the construction and expansion of truck parking facilities near major metropolitan areas, and advocating for states to expand the availability of accurate, real-time truck parking availability information on roadside changeable/dynamic message signs.

A 2021 ATRI study on truck parking information systems found that 15% of drivers rely exclusively on roadside changeable message signs for their parking information. Additionally, 57% of drivers indicated that they had utilized a truck parking app in the past year.

Truck Parking Technologies

There are several technology-based systems currently available to help drivers find parking. The free Penske Driver™ app allows drivers to locate and get contact information for nearby parking locations.

ATRI, American Trucking Associations and NATSO formed the Truck Parking Leadership Initiative, which developed the Park My Truck app that allows truck stops, rest areas and others to report the number of spaces available in their lots. Other apps that provide parking information include Trucker Path and DAT Trucker.

The Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials (MAATSO) initiative unites eight Midwestern states in the nation's first Regional Truck Parking Information Management System. The Truck Parking Information Management System (TPIMS) has been deployed along high-volume freight corridors through Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The states collect and broadcast real-time parking availability to drivers through various media outlets, including dynamic signs, smartphone applications and traveler information websites. “This will help drivers proactively plan their routes and make safer, smarter parking decisions,” MAATSO said on its website.

American Truck Parking, a federally and state-funded project run through the University of California at Berkley, has partnered with several government parking projects that track real-time parking info, including MAATSO, and shares it on its website, combining it all in one place. It also collects data on private truck stops.

Several large truck stops, including TravelCenters of America, Love’s and Pilot Flying J, provide parking information via their apps and allow drivers to reserve parking spaces.

December 2020 / Updated August 2022

If you haven’t checked all the components of your truck’s brake system recently, now is the time to get it done.

[Read more...] Show less

As an estimated 480,000 school buses return to U.S. roads over the next few weeks, it’s time for professional drivers to brush up on their own lesson plan: How to drive with care during back-to-school season. Remember these 7 words that can help you avoid an accident and potentially save a life.

[Read more...] Show less

You may think distracted driving and DUIs cause the largest amount of traffic accidents each year—and you'd be right. But did you know that speeding is #3 on the list?

[Read more...] Show less

Are you ready for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) International Roadcheck 2022? The annual 72-hour roadside inspection blitz includes more than 40,000 commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inspections across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This year’s event will run from May 17 – 19.

[Read more...] Show less

Accidents happen! According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) most recent Traffic Safety Facts report, about 538,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported crashes in 2019. Those accidents led to 159,000 injuries and more than 5,000 deaths.

[Read more...] Show less

Spring marks the start of road construction season, and with more road work projects planned nationwide, professional drivers can expect to navigate more than their fair share of work zones in 2022.

[Read more...] Show less

Lighting is one of the most common roadside violations as well as one of the biggest challenges fleets face.

During the latest 2021 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) Roadcheck event, there were 1,367 out-of-service lighting violations, accounting for 14.1% of all vehicle out-of-service violations. It was the third most-cited violation, after brake systems and tires. Out-of-service lighting device violations include headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps on projecting loads.

[Read more...] Show less

Life on the road means lots of hours behind the wheel. It can also mean way too many high-fat, high-calorie truck stop and diner meals. And sadly, all those calories come at a cost. Studies show that 7 in 10 truck drivers are overweight, which raises their risk for serious heart disease.

[Read more...] Show less

Auxiliary power units (APUs) reduce the need for idling, allowing fleets to reduce fuel costs, increase engine life and improve driver comfort. APUs have traditionally been used in sleeper berths but are increasingly being used in day cabs.

[Read more...] Show less

Cargo theft can cost thousands or even millions of dollars per load, and food and beverages are among the most targeted commodities across the United States and Canada. That is followed by household goods, vehicles and accessories, and pharmaceutical and medical products, according to the latest figures from CargoNet, a theft prevention and recovery network. CargoNet said the cost associated with stolen cargo was just over $60 million in 2021.

[Read more...] Show less

More than 70% of the nation's roads sit in regions that see over 5 inches of snowfall each year. That means there's a good chance you'll encounter slippery and downright dangerous driving conditions over the next three months.

[Read more...] Show less

With holiday traffic volumes expected to be near pre-pandemic levels this year, professional drivers can expect to share the road with millions of motorists nationwide. But the highways won’t be the only crowded place. Truck stops and rest areas will be jam-packed, too!

[Read more...] Show less

The driver shortage has hit an all-time high. Comfort and convenience features on late-model equipment can help improve drivers' experience on the road, which can boost recruitment and retention efforts.

"It is so competitive in the driver market, some of the carriers are using truck features as a benefit in their recruiting," said Chuck Pagesy, director of safety for Penske Truck Leasing. "You're trying to differentiate yourself from the other carriers and make your drivers more comfortable, so you also get more productivity and greater tenure."

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that by the end of the year the truck driver shortage will hit a historic high of just over 80,000 drivers.

Increased Comfort

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have worked to increase comfort inside the cab, rolling out better ergonomic designs for dashboard alignment and gauges. They're also building in greater adjustability, such as with electric mirrors, temperature settings, automatic climate control and heated steering wheels. "In some cases, OEMs are trying to make them more car-like," Pagesy said, adding that fleets can also specify a better seat with more back and thigh support. "If drivers are not so fatigued when they get out of the truck, they hopefully have improved alertness and productivity."

Improved Safety

Class 8 tractors are increasingly equipped with safety features, such as active cruise control and lane-departure warnings, which can reduce stress on drivers. "It takes the pressure off of them and allows them to be more alert," Pagesy said. "Power steering and disc brakes have also made it more comfortable for the driver."

Tire pressure monitoring systems indicate any problems with tires, resulting in fewer flats and issues. Pagesy said some trucks are equipped with self-inflating tires, which can provide a significant safety benefit.

Added Convenience

Fueling at Penske locations provides added convenience for drivers. "We pump the fuel for them. At a lot of truck stops, they have to pump their fuel," Pagesy said, adding that Penske also conducts a multipoint inspection and checks the tire pressure, washes the windshield and cleans up the rearview mirrors.

If the fueling attendant finds any defects, the shop can fix them. "It is a convenience and safety issue at the same time," Pagesy said.

November 2021

At 2 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, Daylight Saving Time will end. And while we'll all gain an extra hour of sleep, we'll also lose an hour of daytime driving.

[Read more...] Show less

The brake system on a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) must work all of the time under all conditions, and both air disc brakes and S-cam drum brakes can get the job done. However, many manufacturers have made air disc brakes standard and the adoption rate for air disc brakes is increasing.

[Read more...] Show less

After spending most of 2020 indoors, people are heading outside again. According to TripAdvisor's 2021 Summer Travel Index, two-thirds of Americans plan to travel between June 1 and Aug. 31, and 43% of them expect to drive to their destination.

[Read more...] Show less

Federal law has required professional truck drivers to wear seat belts since 1970, and a record 86% of drivers now use safety belts, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported. According to FMCSA, safety belt use remains one of the cheapest, easiest and most important means to protect commercial motor vehicle drivers.

[Read more...] Show less

Fleets are using technology to improve truck driver safety and shape driver habits. Onboard safety technology improves safety and can increase efficiency, reduce liability and cut costs – but fleets need to gain driver acceptance of any new solutions.

[Read more...] Show less