Current Federal Hours of Service regulations require a truck driver to take 10 consecutive hours off after driving a maximum of 11 hours and to take 30-minute rest periods after 8 hours of driving [USDOT FMCSA 2011]. Because of these requirements, truck drivers need to find parking facilities that will accommodate long- term rest periods during an extended trip.
A recent FHWA Parking Survey showed that truck parking shortages are widespread and particularly acute along major freight corridors, such as I-95, I-40, and I-10, and in metropolitan areas. Thirty-seven states reported truck parking shortages at all times throughout the week [USDOT FHWA 2015]. Also, many states do not allow overnight or extended parking at public rest areas, making it more difficult for drivers to get required and needed rest [USDOT FHWA 2012].
Of the 300,000 truck parking spaces documented in the FHWA survey, more than 90 percent are located at private truck stops. Nearly 80 percent of private truck stop facilities had fewer than 100 truck parking spaces [USDOT FHWA 2015].
The shortage of truck parking facilities poses a safety risk to truck drivers as well as other motorists, according to the FHWA study. More than 75 percent of truck drivers reported having difficulty finding safe and legal parking during rest periods, and that number increased to 90 percent at night when drivers often wait for their drop-off destination to open for deliveries. The limitations on delivery times place considerable demands on truck parking facilities and on truck drivers to meet tight schedules, particularly in urban areas. The lack of parking spaces could result in a decision to continue driving while tired or to park in unsafe locations along road shoulders and highway entrance and exit ramps [USDOT FHWA 2015].