The Big Rig Dilemma – The Pressing Need for Adequate Truck Parking

By Bill Rohr
Uploaded: December 4th, 2023

The hustle and bustle of the interstate highways often overshadow a silent crisis unfolding at their fringes: the lack of adequate parking for big rig trucks. This unmet demand for proper parking spaces isn’t just an inconvenience—it’s a matter of life and death.

In 2020 alone, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported 4,000 injury accidents involving big rigs near the interstate on and off ramps. More gravely, 55 of these accidents were fatal. These figures are not just statistics on paper; they represent families devastated, careers derailed, and lives lost.1.

The American Trucking Association says for every 11 big trucks on the road, there’s only one available parking spot.2. It’s simple math: insufficient parking spaces lead to increased risks. Why, one might ask, do truckers not simply find another parking spot? The answer lies in a combination of factors.

Firstly, truckers are under strict drive time rules. With limited hours to drive each day, they often find themselves against the clock, searching for a spot to rest. When official rest areas are full, many truckers have no choice but to park at the nearest available spot, which often means the shoulders of highways, on and off ramps, and other unofficial and unsafe locations.

Fortunately, this crisis hasn’t gone unnoticed. The bipartisan infrastructure bill, in tandem with other federal initiatives, has earmarked funds to boost truck parking capacities at several state rest stops. This move signifies a step in the right direction and underscores the urgency of the situation.

In another encouraging development, Congressman Mike Bost is spearheading legislation that seeks to inject an additional $755 million for states to bolster truck parking. This legislative effort, if successful, could be a game-changer in the battle against the parking deficit. 3.

As the backbone of the nation’s supply chain, truckers play an indispensable role in keeping our economy running. It’s only fitting that they are provided with the basic amenities and safe parking spaces they need to carry out their duties efficiently. While the efforts being made are commendable, there is still a long road ahead. It’s a collective responsibility—of policymakers, the trucking industry, and the public—to ensure that our highways are safe for everyone, including the hardworking men and women behind the wheels of big rigs. By engaging in public-private partnerships, communities can also work towards developing new rest areas or expanding existing ones to accommodate the growing number of big rigs on the roads.

While the immediate repercussions of the truck parking crisis are evident in the form of accidents and compromised safety, it’s essential to understand the broader impacts on truckers’ lives and the trucking industry as a whole.

The lack of proper parking spaces doesn’t just pose a safety hazard; it also takes a toll on the physical and mental well-being of truckers. Fatigue is a significant concern, but so are the stresses that come with the constant search for a safe place to park. Truckers, already dealing with the pressures of deadlines and long hours on the road, are further burdened by the anxiety of where they will rest for the night. This chronic stress can lead to health problems, including heart conditions, hypertension, and mental health issues like depression.

The economic implications of the truck parking crisis are manifold. Improperly parked trucks are more susceptible to theft, leading to losses for trucking companies and increased insurance premiums. Furthermore, if truckers spend additional time searching for parking, it can delay deliveries, affecting the broader supply chain and incurring extra operational costs.

One possible solution to this crisis is the integration of technology. Tech companies have and are continuing to develop apps that allow truckers to find and reserve parking spaces in real time. These digital platforms can provide truckers with up-to-date information on available parking, saving them time and reducing the risks associated with last-minute parking.

The truck parking crisis sheds light on the intricate balance between infrastructure, safety, and the well-being of one of the most crucial sectors in our economy. As we move forward, it’s imperative to remember that solutions to such multifaceted problems require cooperation from all stakeholders. By understanding the depth of the issue and working collaboratively, perhaps we can create a safer and more efficient environment for everyone on the road.


  1. Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2020,
  2. CBS EVENING NEWS, Lack of parking for semi-trucks can have fatal consequences, KRIS VAN CLEAVE, UPDATED ON: SEPTEMBER 25, 2023 / 7:56 PM / CBS NEWS,
  3. NTSB looking at risk parked semis posed to Greyhound bus in fatal Illinois accident, by JIM SALTER and HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH | Associated Press, Fri, July 14th 2023, 4:25 PM CDT,

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