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Sept.21, 2015

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GOVERNMENT WATCH INTERNATIONAL | WASHINGTON | CUSTOMS | SECURITY | REGULATION 14 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE SEPTEMBER 21.2015 By Reynolds Hutchins A N AT I O N W I D E S H O R TAG E of pa rk ing for truck drivers is prompting the U.S. Department of Transportation to call for a national coalition to address the issue, which contributes to rising transporta- tion costs and ever-tightening capacity in the sector. A DOT Federal Highway Adminis- tration study found that nearly half of all state transportation departments surveyed reported that a dearth of parking is forcing drivers to continue driving while tired or to park their trucks on road shoulders or exit ramps, a safety hazard in either case. The struggle to find safe parking isn't just concentrated during one time of day or a certain day of the week, the study showed. "Most states reported having truck parking shortages occurring at all times of the day on every day of the week," the DOT said in a statement. Drivers cited the East Coast as the most problematic, namely the mid-Atlantic, which includes New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. New England the Midwest followed closely behind. More than 75 percent of the drivers and nearly 66 percent of the logistics personnel surveyed reported they regularly had trou- ble finding safe parking when they needed to rest, and 90 percent reported they struggled to find safe parking at night. "We know truck parking has been a long-standing problem in our nation and we need new approaches to fix it," U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez said in a statement. "Now more than ever, this country needs better planning, invest- ment and innovation from those who have a stake in safe truck parking and transpor- tation." At its worst, truck parking is a life-and- death issue. In the U.S., truck driver Jason Rivenburg made headlines in 2009 after he was robbed and murdered after parking his vehicle in an unsecure location. Rivenburg's slaying led to the passage of "Jason's Law," 2012 legislation making more federal fund- ing available to states for the construction of truck parking areas. Rivenburg is also the namesake of the latest highway administra- tion study. There's also a more literal cost involved. The parking shortage can impact on-time delivery, cutting into a driver's available work hours as he or she is forced to search for legal parking options. That can push drivers to park illegally or violate hours-of- service just to find parking. Unofficial or illegal parking has become so commonplace that officials in 48 states surveyed in the DOT's recent report said they could identify specific locations. Offi- cials in 11 states said they could identify nearly a dozen or more such sites. Nearly half of those locations were freeway ramps, 27 percent were road shoulders and 20 per- cent were parking lots. Drivers' decisions to park illegally or spend hours searching for official parking spaces ultimately translate into delays that tie up tractor-trailer capacity that could be available elsewhere. If a carrier holds a shipper or consignee responsible for those delays, that carrier could divert capacity to other customers, raise rates or pile on costly surcharges. Making the matter so difficult to resolve is a lack of dedicated personnel. There are no U.S. agencies or departments respon- sible for providing parking facilities for U.S. truck drivers. The overwhelming majority of truck parking — 88 percent — is at pri- vate truck stops, not public rest areas. The new national coalition that the recent DOT study calls for, however, could change that. Shortly after the study's release, Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau highlighted the importance of resolving the nation's parking shortage. It's not just an issue for drivers, Nadeau said. It's also an issue for every industry driving the U.S. economy. "Without truck drivers, America's businesses would suffer and the economy would come to a halt," Nadeau said in a state- ment. "They deliver the goods and products we use every day, and are critical to safe freight movement in our country." JOC Contact Reynolds Hutchins at and follow him on Twitter: @Hutchins_JOC. NO PARKING DOT calls for coalition to address shortage of parking for truckers on U.S. roads

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