First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation
Washington — The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on July 20 approved an updated version of the bipartisan Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act.
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), H.R. 2187 would address a nationwide shortage of safe parking spots for commercial motor vehicle drivers, who are required under federal hours-of-service regulations to park and rest after being on duty for long periods.
“Since at least 2002, the U.S. Department of Transportation has identified the growing shortage of truck parking spaces as an issue of national concern that jeopardizes the safety of truck drivers and the motoring public,” Bost said during a committee hearing. “Often, truck drivers have been unable to find safe places to park their vehicles and are forced to use sides of the roads and off-ramps. This leads to accidents when other motorists don’t expect the truck to be parked on the side of the road.
“The longer we allow this problem to go on, the worse it’s going to get for the trucking industry.”
The bill would allow the transportation secretary to issue grants for projects that provide truck parking – $175 million for fiscal year 2023 and a combined $580 million over the next three fiscal years. Entities eligible for the grants include states, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, an agency of a state or local government “carrying out responsibilities relating to CMV parking,” a tribal government or a consortium of tribal governments, and a multistate or multijurisdictional group. Grantees would be permitted to partner with private entities “to carry out an eligible project.”
During a media roundtable at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, Robin Hutcheson, acting administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, acknowledged that the agency was “really feeling the urgency” to address the lack of safe parking. She added that FMCSA was collaborating with the Federal Highway Administration to try to fix the issue.
A month earlier, in a letter sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, and Todd Spencer, president and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, called on the Department of Transportation to prioritize funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to address the lack of safe parking for CMV drivers.
They requested that the department work with the Biden administration, state DOTs, Congress and industry stakeholders “to ensure appropriate actions are taken to mitigate the growing truck parking shortage.”
The bill, introduced March 26, 2021, initially had three Democrats and two Republicans listed as co-sponsors. That list has since grown to 37 lawmakers from both side of the aisle.
The legislation now goes before the full House for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled.
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