December 22, 2017

The FMCSA’s ELD Mandate Amplifies the Parking Shortage Problem

The FMCSA’s ELD Mandate Amplifies the Parking Shortage Problem

The shortage of parking spaces has been a concern in the trucking industry for quite a while now. The FMCSA’s ELD mandate, which became mandatory on December 18, 2017, is magnifying the problem for commercial drivers, according to the Executive Vice President of Washington Trucking Associations Sheri Call.

The Washington Trucking Associations is meeting with key lawmakers to discuss the parking shortage problem.

“What’s kind of driving some of the issue is the implementation of the ELD mandate. A lot of people are attributing it to the ELD mandate and the lack of facilities available for trucks to safely park. You have to stop. You can’t go down the road and fudge the log,” said Call.

As you must know, the ELD mandate requires most commercial drivers to install electronic logging devices which would automatically record their hours-of-service and duty status information. Because of this automation, the information will be recorded 100% accurately, and there won’t be any possibility of driving a few more miles to find a parking spot and fudging the records.

It is important to remember that the Washington State Department of Transportation conducted a truck parking study in 2016, which revealed a severe shortage of truck parking spaces in the State. According to estimates, there are 3,160 truck parking spaces available in the State. Out of 3,160, 718 spaces are public, while the rest of the 2,442 parking spaces are private.

On the other hand, WSDoT reveals that the daily truck traffic on the State’s important routes is increasing steadily. For instance, Interstate 5 — which runs through Tacoma — saw 21,086 commercial trucks in a day last year. It was a 34% increase when compared with the maximum recorded traffic on a day in 2015.

Jason Beloso, who is the strategic planning manager of WSDoT’s Rail, Freight and Ports Division, identified Interstates 5, 90, and 405, as critical areas where more truck parking spaces are needed. All of these interstates intersect Seattle.

According to Beloso, “In the previous study, the areas where truck parking was needed was limited to certain portions of those corridors. In this study, we determined that truck parking really is needed throughout the entire length of those three interstates.”

To minimize this problem, the WSDoT has created a map that highlights where truck parking spaces are available for commercial drivers. The map specifies parking spaces throughout the State and also accounts for private truck stops, weigh stations, and rest areas.

Moreover, the map also highlights the various facilities that are available at each spot, e.g., showers, fuel, electrified parking spaces, vending machines, food services, etc.

According to Jason Beloso, “I kind of look at it as a low-cost, low-tech solution. It is not intended to be a silver bullet. It is a tool that truck drivers could use.”

Beloso also mentioned that they are working to make it an online, interactive map that can frequently be updated to convey the latest information to drivers.

Other than these efforts, the WSDoT is also working on creating more truck parking spaces, told Beloso.

For instance, some rest areas have grass space and lawn corridors that could pave the way for additional truck parking spaces. Beloso said, “We continue to look at maximizing the system and looking for greater efficiencies.”

Top 10 Biggest Concerns of the Trucking Industry

A recent report by ATRI revealed the industry’s top 10 most significant concerns. The scarcity of trucking parking spots was revealed to be the fourth biggest issue.

Following are the top 10 biggest problems in the trucking industry, as per the ATRI’s report.

  1. Driver shortage
  2. ELD mandate
  3. Hours of Service regulations
  4. Shortage of truck parking spaces
  5. Driver retention
  6. CSA scores
  7. Costs associated with regulations
  8. Driver distractions
  9. Poorly maintained roads and traffic congestion
  10. Driver health and wellness.

If you want to learn more about the ATRI’s recent report, read, driver shortage has officially become trucking industry’s biggest concern.

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