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Fixing truck parking is a group effort

Truck parking is an issue all over the country – and a big topic of conversation on this show.

The topic is complicated (you wouldn’t think so, but it is). And that leads to a lot of confusion.

One of the key points is this: Whose job is it to solve the parking problem?

The answer: Pretty much everyone’s.

The federal government sets the rules that make truckers take rest breaks at specific intervals, including the 30-minute break added in July 2013. If you make people do this, you have some responsibility to ensure they have a way to obey the reg without violating other laws.

What’s more, the feds set the rules for the interstate highway system – including the initial creation of safety rest areas. They provide much of the money that states spend on highways, and set the rules for how that money is to be spent.

Jason’s Law started the process at the federal level, and the feds have started work. But more is needed, at a quicker pace.

State governments, for their part, raise and spend their own highway funds, and have more than reasonable flexibility with the money provided by the feds. Plus, as the governments that most enforce the rules, they share the fed’s responsibility – the moral responsibility of making it at least physically possible to obey the rule.

Stopping the practice of closing rest areas is a good start. Converting more into truck parking only is another good step. But any state – especially those who have closed rest areas – should not be ticketing truckers for taking required rest in places like entrance and exit ramps unless they are equally willing to help solve the crisis.

Then we come to local governments.

This really doesn’t seem like something they would be involved in, but they have placed themselves at the center of the issue.

How many times have you read about towns imposing truck parking bans, even small rural towns telling truckers they cannot park their vehicles on their own property?

They have a part to play as well in fixing the problem.

Every town that has an industrial park should have a section of their zoning ordinances calling on a minimum number of overnight truck parking spaces at the facility. The number could be based on a number of factors, but ultimately, it has to be proportional to the number of trucks that serve the facility.

Let’s add that those facilities cannot be labeled “no truck parking” or “no overnight parking.” If they don’t want those things, then don’t use trucks – period.

Finally, we have all the truckers. When truck parking comes up at your city council, speak out. It may not affect you, but it will affect your fellow truckers. Only a city resident can speak out at those meetings with any effect. You do it for them; in their cities, they can do it for you.

Also make sure to call your state and U.S. lawmakers. Keep them informed on the state of truck parking, on how it affects you and other truckers. Don’t be deterred by staff members who may sound like they’re blowing you off; they’re not. Keep those calls coming.

Everyone has a part to play here. All of us need to step up.

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