Last week, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent a letter to the U.S. DOT imploring the Biden administration to make truck parking a bigger priority in future federal funding and infrastructure plans. The reason why truck parking is such a big issue for truckers is certainly no secret: a 2019 parking study by the American Transportation Research Institute found that lack of available, safe parking costs truckers on average nearly $5,000 each year. Few options for truck parking not only threatens your livelihood, but also can impact your personal safety and that of the cargo you move.

We recently surveyed owner operators and carriers like yourself to learn more about just how challenging finding truck parking is right now. Of all the people who responded to our truck parking survey, approximately 62 percent identified themselves as owner operators or company drivers, while the remaining 38 percent identified as carriers. Check out these key takeaways from our recent truck parking survey.

86 Percent Have a Hard Time Finding Parking

Most of the truckers and carriers who responded to our truck parking survey move 100 loads or less each month with dry van, flatbed or reefer trailers. Eighty-six percent of responders said they have a hard time finding parking. Thirty percent of those who answered our survey told us that they have a hard time finding truck parking in general, while 56 percent said that they struggle to find parking at specific times during the course of the day. Only 10 percent of the truckers and carriers who answered our survey reported that finding parking is easy for them.

The Biggest Challenge: Overnight Parking

We also asked which type of parking presents the biggest challenge. Seventy-nine percent of those who responded to Trucker Tools’ truck parking survey said that overnight parking when en route to drop off locations is the greatest challenge. Eight percent cited short term parking during breaks as the most significant parking-related problem, while only four percent told us that long-term parking during home time is the biggest issue.

74 Percent of Respondents Have Parked in an Unsafe/Illegal Place

One of the most striking results from our recent parking survey is that 74 percent of the truckers and carriers who answered have parked in an unsafe or illegal location due to lack of parking. Obviously, parking illegally or in an unsafe place is not going to be your first choice, but it’s a choice many are driven to when faced with lack of available truck parking and HOS rules. In most cases, parking on highway entry and exit ramps, especially overnight, violates federal trucking regulations and makes you liable for any injuries caused by being illegally parked. Parking illegally or in an unsafe place also can cause accidents with motorists and other trucks.

The Big Dilemma: To Pay or Not To Pay

Forty-four percent of the truckers and carriers who responded to our survey told us that they will pay for parking some or all of the time, or that their company pays for parking. However, 49 percent told us that they always look for free parking. But, as one commenter told us, free parking isn’t always on the menu.

“I always look for free parking, but in some areas there is only paid parking available,” commented the trucker. Another said, “I pay for a parking spot when I know I am arriving.”

“I always look for free parking, but in some areas there is only paid parking available,” commented the trucker. Another said, “I pay for a parking spot when I know I am arriving.”

Lane Choice, Rates Not Impacted by Truck Parking Availability or Costs

Despite the fact that truck parking clearly is a major challenge for most truckers and carriers, lane choice and rate negotiations usually aren’t impacted by lack of truck parking according to our survey respondents. Only twenty-eight percent of those who responded said that parking availability impacts which lanes they pick. A mere twenty-three percent of those surveyed said that they consider the cost of parking when negotiating rates with shippers, brokers and logistics providers.

If you’re struggling to find overnight parking, check out New Feature! Find, Reserve Parking with Trucker Tools’ Free Driver App.

To download the free Trucker Tools app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/carriers/.