Truck Parking; Why It Matters To You

One thing I hate is when people complain about things they need and/or use without acknowledging that their need; their usage is contributing the very thing they complain about.

When I was in college a fellow student was complaining about how much our university president earned. I attended a private, Christian, liberal arts university and we had chapel services every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And every year we had one service that was less a religious service and more of a “State of the Union” type address regarding our school’s financial standing. Within that service was a disclosure of the university president’s salary.

Sure enough, the class I had immediately following that chapel service a fellow student was horrified about how much our president earned (this was roughly 1998 and I think the job paid less than $200k at that time). Do we want a first-rate education? Do we want a beautiful school campus? Do we want a financially solvent institution? If the answer is yes to any of those, then we need to pay competitive salaries to those who can provide them. I countered to my fellow student that it was a travesty we were paying him so little. A local public university not noted for its academics was paying their president $500k at that time.

So what does that have to do with a shipping and logistics company blog? While a lot of consumers bemoan the loss of “mom and pop” small businesses, we like the savings we get from big box stores. We say that we think highways are unsafe while we drive 10 mph over the speed limits. Then to top it off we complain when we get a ticket that the police should chase “real criminals” rather than waste their time writing tickets. Really?!?

The trucking industry is at a crisis. It may not seem like one, but it is. They don’t have places to park their trucks; particularly in heavily populated areas. The very industry that makes it possible for you to pay $0.75 less on a gallon of milk, that transports fuel from depots to service stations, that brings cattle and other animals to butcher-yards, that delivers your children’s toys to the toy-stores, etc. is being choked by lack of parking.

In 2009 Jason Rivonberg was shot and killed by a thief during a robbery attempt. Jason and his truck were targeted because he was parked at an unusual place – he couldn’t find parking at a rest area, at a truck stop, or at another typically safe location. We want; we need the goods truck drivers deliver. And thus, as a society, we owe it to them to provide safe locations for them to park. Keep in mind, we have laws that require them to take breaks; to only work so long – and those are good laws. They help keep our roads safer. Thus it is our responsibility to provide places for them to pull over and sleep; safely.

Our government just passed a much-needed bill designed to tackle many issues the transportation industries have moving forward. It isn’t a perfect bill (is there such a thing?) but it does a lot that is severely needed. What we need now is a bill that helps provide safe parking for those who need it. It could be a public/private co-op that gives tax credits based on parking slots for truck-friendly fueling stations or something…

Mostly I want to say, let’s not be on the wrong side of this issue. Let’s advocate for our drivers not complain about them when we desperately need them.

Thanks for reading.

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