Fast on the heels of the new ELD regulations that went into effect in late 2017 is some good news for long-haul truck drivers. The hotly-contested ELDs made an already difficult parking problem even more challenging for truck drivers who were nearing their limit on driving hours. While the lack of safe and accessible parking is an issue that's been brewing for a number of years, the ELD regulations gave drivers fewer options, with some even having to pay to reserve parking for their rigs in order to remain compliant with these new regulations.
Jason's Law: Turning a Tragedy Into Something Beneficial
Most people in the trucking industry know about the 2009 tragedy that befell Jason Rivenburg, a truck driver who was helping a friend by taking a run. He ultimately lost his life when he stopped to rest at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina. His robbery and murder spurred a great deal of awareness of the problem that truck drivers experience when trying to find parking. This prompted Congress to include provisions in their recently-passed transportation bill that are designed to help states create solutions that make it easier for drivers to find parking -- whether they are fatigued, need to do so to meet the ELD regulations, or some other reason.
Iowa Announces Their Parking Initiative
According to Phil Mescher of DOT, when Jason's Law passed in 2012, it prompted Congress to include $25 million of federal funding that's designed to help eight selected states create electronic solutions to help truck drivers find safe, free and suitable parking. Iowa is among one of those eight states. They've announced their plans to create an electronic system designed to help truck drivers find parking along the busy I-80 artery.
Throughout 2018, Iowa is slated to have sensors of some type that will help drivers know if there are any spots left at the truck stops in the area. The system will be tested throughout the year and is expected to be put in place by January 2019. In addition, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan are expected to implement their own systems that will address the parking dilemma. Eventually, these will connect together in a system that will span the region.