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Parking problems for trucks are also huge in America

Parking problems for trucks are also huge in America

18-09-2023 | By Maarten van der Westen

A recent report suggests that there is only one parking space for every eleven trucks in the United States. This causes major headaches for American drivers. Earlier, they could regularly park their enormous trucks in the parking lot of big stores like Walmart. However, municipalities are increasingly imposing bans as local residents complain about nuisances. It’s a story all too familiar to Dutch drivers.

Starting in 2018, all American trucks are equipped with an electronic device that tracks driving time, similar to our tachograph. According to the rules, the American driver is allowed to drive for 14 hours a day, but after that it actually stops. Due to lack of decent parking spaces, more drivers are forced to park on entry and exit ramps. But, there is no facility here. Parking at gas stations is not an option, as there are often no showers or decent food. Also, overnight stays here are often prohibited.

According to a recent report, a driver in the US spends an average of 56 minutes driving before finding a suitable place to stay overnight. So almost an hour. An additional problem is that these drivers are usually paid per mile driven. Finding a parking space is not paid and is at the driver’s expense. It didn’t earn much anyway: since the unions advocated for the liberalization of commodity prices in the 1980s, prices have been on a downward spiral. Hence the driver’s wages.

Legislation was passed in 2012 to improve the situation for drivers. Jason’s Law is named after a driver who was shot and killed in his truck for $7 in 2009 and was not allowed to spend the night within the gates of his death address. However, Jason’s Law has yet to be ratified, and that won’t happen anytime soon.

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Interest groups are now sounding the alarm. People don’t care about the poor living conditions of the driver, but about road safety. However, things won’t improve anytime soon: competition for low prices is still raging in the US, even more intense than in Europe. Drivers have nowhere to turn: Unions fight mainly for big companies.

Meanwhile, paid parking spaces appear here and there, as we know in Europe. However, these can quickly cost $50 a night, something the average self-driver cannot afford. Also, operators note that it is very difficult to make these parking lots profitable. However, municipalities do not want to invest and exporters do not want additional costs. For now, the 1.8 million drivers in the U.S. will have to figure it out on their own.