Sam Tucker is the founder and CEO of Carrier Risk Solutions, Inc., an Atlanta, Georgia based transportation risk management startup. Prior to this venture, Sam spent 13 years underwriting trucking and logistics accounts at some of the most well known insurance companies. He holds degrees in Business Economics and Finance/Risk Management as well as multiple professional insurance designations. Carrier Risk Solutions' innovative safety management platform can be found online at www.MySafetyManager.com. Reach Sam by email at STucker@CarrierRiskSolutions.com.
Truck parking and Hours of Service issues took 3 of the top 4 spots in the 2016 annual list of industry concerns. A recently released study of the issues at hand adds a bit more clarity to the situation.
Due to industry regulations, truck drivers only have about 12.5 hours of available time to drive in any given 24 hour period. Accordingly, their truck has to be parked somewhere for the remaining 11.5 hours. Finding a reasonably safe place to rest for their “off-duty” period can be hard to do. Available truck parking has been a long-standing industry problem and one that doesn’t have an easy solution.
New regulations that will take effect in December 2017 will make the truck parking problem worse. This is because most commercial trucks will be forced to have an electronic monitoring device on-board that will keep a closer talley on the driver’s available driving hours.
With the loss of even 15 minutes of flexibility, many drivers may find it even harder to find available truck parking. What’s worse, is that even more drivers will stop driving earlier in order to ensure that they find suitable parking prior to running out of available driving time.
ATRI, the non-profit research arm of the American Trucking Associations recently released their report about difficulties that truck drivers face when trying to find available truck parking spaces for their rigs. A recent OverDrive article explored the issue in greater detail:
Parking diaries kept by nearly 600 truck drivers for two weeks this year revealed truckers spend an average of 56 minutes per day searching for parking, costing them nearly $5,000 a year in lost wages, according to a report on the diaries issued this week by the American Transportation Research Institute.
The roughly hour-per-day average accounts for all parking attempts, including those for truckers’ required 10-hour break and others throughout the day. “With average driver pay at $42,500 annually, the lack of available parking is effectively reducing the average driver’s wages by 10 percent annually,” ATRI notes in its report.
The report, based on input from truckers who documented their parking experiences during two week periods between June and September, provided a few obvious notes, like finding parking is most difficult between 4 p.m. and midnight and parking’s scarcest on weekdays. However, the report also provides insights into other factors, like use of electronic logging devices extends the amount of time drivers spend searching for parking.
Truckers using ELDs more frequently reported spending more than 30 minutes searching for parking than those using paper logs. Drivers using ELDs spent 30 or more minutes searching for parking 10.6 percent of the times they sought parking, compared to 5.7 percent of the attempts of drivers using paper logs. Likewise, truckers using paper logs found parking in less than 15 minutes 77.4 percent of the time, compared to just 70.7 percent of the time for those using ELDs.
“ELD leaves no room for dealing with full truck stops making it nearly impossible to pre plan,” said a flatbed driver from Alabama who submitted a journal to ATRI.