Truck drivers face severe shortage of places to stop, rest

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Trucking across the country for hours with no place to rest. That’s where many truck drivers find themselves after a long day of driving.

In 2012, Congress passed “Jason’s Law”. It’s named for a trucker who was murdered after he stopped to rest at an abandoned gas station because he couldn’t find anywhere else to stop for the night.

Since then, safety advocates have been working to address the need for more truck parking. But, truckers said the problem has only gotten worse.

“It’s a major issue. There’s just not enough truck stops for all the trucks on the road,” said trucker William Needham.

Needham has been a truck driver for thirty years. He said finding a place to rest for the night has never been this bad.

“We’re forced sometimes to park on on-ramps and off-ramps which is unsafe for people,” Needham said.

In the United States, there are 11 truck drivers for every one rest stop parking spot, according to the American Trucking Associations.

A member of the Iowa Motor Truck Association said on average, drivers spend almost an hour every day looking for a place to rest.

“We cannot sleep. We have to wait until we find a parking spot. When we wake up in the morning, we are still tired. And just imagine how many trucks on the United States road. And many drivers begin their day, their working day, and they’re already tired. This is really a hazard,” truck driver Dzmitry Sunitsyn said.

Sunitsyn said a lack of sleep is a safety hazard for truckers and everyone else on the road.

“It’s a dangerous thing because they can fall asleep. Truck drivers. We’re driving 11 hours a day. 11 hours. And we have three more hours for loading, unloading and so on. So, 14 hours a day and at the end of the day, we’re tired,” Sunitsyn added.

Brenda Dittmer is with the Iowa Motor Truck Association. She said money and attention toward the issue are long over-due.

“There’s some bills being proposed that would put some extra money into creating more parking spaces out there. I think that’s the number one thing is that we need to put some infrastructure in place that creates additional parking,” Dittmer said.

“The more trucks you get out here the more parking you need and there’s just not enough for us,” Needham said.

The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was introduced in the U.S. House in March. It directs the Department of Transportation to set aside certain funds to provide parking for commercial motor vehicles.

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