Truck parking and the growing problem on ‘Live From Exit 24’

February 24, 2021

SJ Munoz

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If a truck parks in the woods, does anyone care?

Truck parking has been a problem across the nation for decades, but still many are simply unaware.

On the Feb. 24 episode of “Live From Exit 24,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh, OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Bryce Mongeon and Land Line Magazine Staff Writer Tyson Fisher joined host Mike Matousek to identify the problem and offer solutions for truck drivers across the nation.

Inconsistencies are a major component of the parking problem. For example, one Walmart may allow trucks to park in their lot, while another Walmart may not, due to local ordinances or a manager’s discretion.

Pugh, who spent more than 20 years as a truck driver, described problems he encountered on the road.

“If I couldn’t park at the customer, I wasn’t able to find a space that was optimal,” Pugh said. “I might have to park more than an hour away and wake up early to beat traffic. Or find a warehouse with lots of spaces and leave before they opened the next morning. All of this is a major inconvenience for drivers.”

Callers who joined the show expressed their frustrations with finding ample parking while also pointing out how electronic logging devices have complicated the matter.

The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act is a $755 million bill crucial to improving the current parking conditions for truckers.

“A lot of our conversations are educating lawmakers on the scope of the problem,” Mongeon said. “We haven’t spoken to anyone who doubts it’s a problem, they just might not be familiar with it. Visibility has definitely increased over the last year and this bill would be a big step in solving this issue. We know there’s a lot of work to get to that point.”

Lack of knowledge presents a challenge with the NIMBY crowd and general public as well as politically.

“I think there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the trucking industry,” Fisher said. “Many people have the wrong idea about what a truck stop is and what it can bring to the community.”

Listen to ‘Live From Exit 24’ – check for new YouTube video to embed

Fatigue is a concern in terms of the amount of research and studies conducted on this topic.

“The same problems continue to exist, and truck drivers have heard the same lip service over and over again,” Fisher said. “Truck stops are doing what they can to add spaces, but more state and federal governments need to step up to the plate.”

There’s also concern about what else could be in the bill, in addition to parking, according to Pugh.

However, all agreed a long-term solution – like the five-year program Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., proposed last year – would put a huge dent in the truck parking problem.

Optimism followed comments by House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., to “meaningfully address” truck parking.

However, OOIDA is urging you to help.

“We believe every year we are going to get this passed, that’s why we fight for it,” Pugh said. “To get this across the finish line we need our members to pick up the phone and tell Congress what you need and don’t need. Motor carries need to push the truck parking issue as well.”

OOIDA talk show

“Live From Exit 24” is scheduled for 11 a.m. Central every other Wednesday. Listeners can tune in to the show on the Live From Exit 24 website, OOIDA Facebook page or on OOIDA’s YouTube channel. The next episode airs Wednesday, March 10.

Survey

“Live From Exit 24” launched as a way to expand OOIDA’s communication with members and to hear directly from drivers across the industry. OOIDA is asking for truck drivers to fill out a survey to let the Association know how you are liking the show so far. The survey is here. LL

Int'l Used Trucks
SJ Munoz

SJ Munoz is the newest edition to the Land Line Media team. He brings a variety of skills to the job as he has experience as a reporter, photographer and in radio. He’s also written for Omaha Magazine, the Lawrence Journal-World, and PrepsKC.com.