The COVID-19 pandemic emptied out airports, train stations, and malls, but it put more delivery trucks on the road than ever as people fully embraced home deliveries of goods ranging from groceries to mattresses to cars bought online. Truckers say that’s squeezed an already big problem: They have nowhere to park for mandated off-road rest.
“‘The hardest thing of the day is to find a parking spot,’ said Doug Smith, a trucker based in Bountiful, Utah. He said the pandemic has made it harder to find bathrooms and places to eat, but parking, a problem even before the pandemic, has been made worse as distribution centers where trucks drop off or pick up loads have barred truckers from parking because of COVID-19 concerns, putting even more demand on truck- and rest-stop parking,” reports Roll Call. Even if they find parking, they’re frequently locked out of restrooms and other amenities due to COVID-19 concerns. Hopes for money to expand parking in a COVID relief bill seem dashed, so truckers are putting their sights on in infrastructure relief bill expected later this year.
Ninety-eight percent of truckers recently surveyed said they had problems finding safe parking for mandated rest periods and overnight. And they’re worried funding for more truck parking–with available restrooms–might be combined with a highway bill many fear will be otherwise anti-trucking, forcing their unions to oppose it even though it would bring parking relief.