New “Park My Truck” app helps truckers find safe parking
App will update truckers on parking spot availability, safe rest areas, and help avoid truck accidents by tired truckers
I was recently listening to Sirius XM’s Road Dog Trucking (great station, our own attorneys have been interviewed on the Dave Nemo show on Road Dog from time to time on various legal issues and liability questions that truckers have).
This story made me want to come back to my office to write about it. It features a great idea for tired truckers who are having a hard time finding parking. The two guests on the show, both truckers, mentioned that it often takes truckers up to a half hour or even an hour to find parking spots. And I know from my own practice as an attorney that many preventable injury accidents are caused by tired truckers who are trying to find a place to stop and park.
A new Smartphone app is designed to help prevent all of this. It’s a free app called “Park my Truck,” and it will notify truckers of available parking spaces that are close by.
To create the database of parking spaces for commercial motor vehicles, the app will allow any parking provider – public or private – to report their parking availability. It’s set to be released later this summer.
This app comes in response to findings from organizations like the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), which ranks truck parking management as “one of the industry’s Top 5 most pressing concerns.” For example, all but 11 U.S. states have recorded issues with parking space availability for trucks, according to a recent article on todaystrucking.com.
The developers, according to the radio show, have been in touch with some state Departments of Transportation for parking information.
Truckers are not allowed to use cell phones when behind the wheel under federal regulations, so the new app will still need to be used responsibly and in accordance with the federal safety regs.
I wrote about Jason’s Law in 2013, which provided funding to build and update rest stations so truck drivers have better access to safe rest areas. The idea behind making rest areas – or parking – more available has everything to do with safety. Giving tired or fatigued truckers a place where they can stay safe and not endanger the public is a great idea that our Truck Roundtable Attorneys fully support.
Jason’s law was inspired by Jason Rivenburg, who in 2009 was on the road in South Carolina with a fully loaded commercial truck. He was tired and so he did the responsible thing: pulled over to take a nap. As there were no rest stations around, Rivenburg pulled into an abandoned roadside gas station for his rest. While he slept, he was tragically robbed and murdered.
The Park My Truck app is the latest desperately needed solution to a long-time problem that the government hasn’t been able to address. According to Lisa Mullings, President of the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) in several published reports:
“Federal and state governments have spent decades and millions of dollars researching truck parking issues, and testing technology-based approaches to counting available spaces, but not one of these efforts has yielded nationwide data about parking availability. We are still many millions of dollars and years away from implementing an electronic system that can count parking nationwide. The problem is that drivers need information now. We don’t want to allow our pursuit of a perfect solution to prevent us from implementing a good solution today.”
How states, truck and rest stops can report parking spots
The Park my Truck app is developed by the Truck Parking Leadership Initiative, of which ATRI, ATA and NATSO are main members. The developers are working to encourage all parking providers, including truck stops, travel centers and rest areas to participate by reporting the number of spaces available in their lots.
Truck parking providers can contact NATSO at (703) 549-2100 or [email protected] to establish an account to provide truck parking availability.