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"We recognize locating a safe and convenient place to park and rest as a problem, and we are taking actions to address this issue." --Scott Darling, FMCSA
"After our family lost Jason, many drivers and organizations have worked tirelessly to correct this problem. We have educated the general public and gained support. As we finish this step, I look forward to the next." --Hope Rivenburg
The results of a national survey released Friday morning, Aug. 21 confirm it: Most states have problems year-round with inadequate truck parking. Along with the survey findings, the Dept. of Transportation announced a new coalition that'll be focused on this national problem and discussed initiatives on the way to help.
"If [the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration] is to succeed at its life-saving mission, we must do better on this issue," FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling said at a media briefing. "We recognize locating a safe and convenient place to park and rest as a problem, and we are taking actions to address this issue."
Darling noted FMCSA is in the second phase of a Smart Park initiative that's piloting parking assistance systems and communications to help drivers find available spots. The systems will draw from features already employed in places like airport parking lots that have sensors and signs indicating open spaces and apps that can guide cars to available parking in a range of U.S. cities.
"Our Smart Park initiative will leverage cutting-edge technologies to first determine the availability of safe truck parking places and secondly will provide real-time information to truck drivers rolling down our highways," Darling said. "We are looking to several platforms for disseminating safe truck parking information including a smartphone app, a website and signs on the road that continually update truckers on availability of parking."
"We want the system to safely and efficiently communicate with truckers and guide them to safe, available parking spaces," he added. In addition, Darling said FMCSA will provide grants to help states purchase equipment like cameras, sensors and other devices that would monitor truck parking spots and signal drivers if they're available or not.
According to Darling, FMCSA has a limited-scale parking assistance system up and running. "We have piloted a system in Tennessee and we're looking to deploy that system more widely, so stay tuned," he told listeners.