Trucking and travel plaza leaders recently announced a new highway safety initiative to help professional drivers find available truck parking.
Beginning in late summer, truck drivers who need to stop and rest will be able to use a free mobile app called Park My Truck to locate an available space, according to the initiative's leaders, the NATSO Foundation, NATSO, Inc., the American Trucking Associations and the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), according to the organizations.
The Truck Parking Leadership Initiative was developed based on feedback from professional drivers and trucking companies who often describe truck parking availability as a critical need. Park My Truck allows any parking provider--whether public or private--to report their parking availability for free through this app; it doesn't require any special technology except internet access.
"Federal and state governments have spent decades and millions of dollars researching truck parking and testing technology-based approaches to counting available spaces, but not one of these efforts has yielded nationwide data about parking availability," said Lisa Mullings, the president of NATSO and the NATSO Foundation. "We are still many millions of dollars and years away from implementing an electronic system that can count parking nationwide. The problem is that drivers need information now. We don't want to allow our pursuit of a perfect solution to prevent us from implementing a good solution today."
The groups encouraged all parking providers--including truck stops and travel centers, rest areas and others--to participate in the initiative by reporting the number of spaces available in their lots.
"Access to safe truck parking is a critical issue for the trucking industry," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "It is important for America's professional drivers to have access to safe parking so they can get their required off-duty rest. Efforts like this to inform drivers about the availability of parking spaces can only help drivers as they deliver our nation's economy and move us forward. We look forward to working with truck parking providers – both public and private – to ensure that all drivers have access to this important information."
Administered by the NATSO Foundation, Park My Truck will be accessible by internet or through smart-phone apps by all professional drivers, trucking fleets or other industry participants.
"ATRI's latest research has revealed that 'managing critical truck parking' ranks as one of the industry's Top 5 most pressing concerns," said ATRI Vice President, Dan Murray. "Through this technology, we will dramatically expand the scope of truck parking information available to drivers in an efficient, easily accessible format. It is gratifying to be part of a collaborative team that is generating real-world parking solutions for truck drivers and motor carriers alike."
"Lack of information about available truck parking across the nation is a serious problem, both for drivers and the inspectors who interact with them," said Collin B. Mooney, CAE, executive director, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. "We owe it to the hardworking drivers who spend countless hours on the road to do everything we can to help them find safe, convenient and accessible places to park and get the rest they need."