Parking apps boost safety, productivity for female truckers
Story by: Vishnu Rajamanickam, Staff Writer @ FreightWaves.com
For many years, the trucking community has lamented the unavailability of safe and cheap parking spots for truckers to rest after their Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-allotted hours of service (HoS) are up. In fact, 19.9% of the truckers surveyed in an American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) study placed the issue among their top three concerns.
“The reason they are frustrated is because parking is not always available when they need it, so they need to make a decision in advance to start looking for a parking spot,” said Ellen Voie, president and CEO of Women in Trucking.
Drivers essentially have two equally unappealing options. First, they can try to find a parking spot quickly at the risk of cutting their workday short — sometimes by well over an hour, as ATRI results show 40% of drivers spend an hour or more searching for a parking spot.
“This means they cut their productive driving time short [to ensure] they are in compliance,” Voie said.
Alternatively, drivers may spend excessive time searching for a spot and end up extending their day beyond the legal hour limit. Despite their best efforts, they may still have to park on a ramp or at an unauthorized location — which may or may not be safe. And even permissible parking at a rest area is no guarantee of safety, given the transient nature of other motorists and drivers using the stop.
That greater awareness extends to the significant issue of harassment. Voie mentioned that some female drivers fuel and eat at one location then drive to another to sleep — in order not to get out of the truck at the place they plan to sleep and reveal to anyone nearby that they are driving solo.
With digitalization and the development of a handful of truck parking applications like TruckPark, drivers can now reserve their parking spots well ahead of time.
“The driver can reserve a space up to a year in advance or as quickly as the need arises,” Voie said. “When surveyed, many drivers, both male and female, appreciate the opportunity to secure a parking spot, even if there is a cost associated with it. However, the sentiment is often related to whether or not their carrier reimburses them for the fees,” Voie added.
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Source and credits: freightwaves.com / Vishnu Rajamanickam / iTrucker / Mario Pawlowski