Results of a trucker survey and engineering proposals will help
Ontario's Ministry of Transportation figure out how to best add more
truck parking and trucker amenities along its southern highways.
Truck parking has been a
problem for years in many places in North America. “It’s coming to a
head now as some of it is driven by the electronic data logging,” said Philip Bigelow, a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.
Bigelow is part of a group seeking the opinions of Canadian and U.S. truckers on truck parking that will be presented to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation
to help determine where additional truck parking is needed in the
province. They are also seeking what kind of amenities truck drivers
need and want at truck stops.
“There has been a demand for
space for years and no one is giving up room for truck parking,”
Bigelow told Fleet Owner this week. “Unfortunately the drivers are the
middle person who just sucks it up.”
The broad-based survey, which is active until Feb. 28, can be accessed at surveycentral.ca.
It takes less than 15 minutes to complete. The confidential survey is
open to both Canadian and U.S. truck drivers and is available in English
In the U.S., there is Jason’s Law,
which prioritized federal funding to address limited truck parking.
Jason’s Law is named for truck driver Jason Rivenburg, who was robbed
and fatally shot in South Carolina in 2009 after pulling off to rest at
an abandoned gas station.
“We haven’t had something
like that but the same risks are there,” Bigelow said. “But a 2010
survey found that more than half of drivers drove over their service
hours to find parking. Something that is happening in Canada is that
people are parking illegally. And illegally parked trucks can cause
This survey asks about the
shortage of parking along southern Ontario highways — and the hardships
this causes drivers: Such as lost time, lost earnings, frustration and
“The drivers lose money by
not finding parking,” Bigelow said. “If they don’t know where they are
going to park or the place is full, they are going to get a ticket and
Some of the questions are
about specific roadways in Ontario and others are more general about
truck stops, rest areas and secondary roads.
In past trucker surveys,
Bigelow said, they’ve found that drivers wany parking, security and
clean bathrooms and showers at truck stops. “Unfortunately exercise has
not been big on the list,” the professor said.
Bigelow, whose area of
research is in truck driver wellness, would like to see more exercise
facilities at truck stops. He is focused on improving the health and
behavior of truck drivers.
While drivers don’t tend to
say that is an important aspect of a truck stop, he noted that truckers
are talking more about healthy food nowadays than they did in the past.
“A number of them are saying
they would really like healthy food in truck stops as well,” Bigelow
said. “If they don’t have the right environment, they are not going to
be able to adopt the healthy behaviors.”
He cited a US National Long-Haul study
that found that truck drivers are more obese than other workers, have a
higher rate of heart disease and diabetes. “All of these chronic
diseases are higher in drivers. And it’s because of their job.”
And this all ties into
parking. Because if you can’t park, if you can’t eat healthily, and if
you can’t exercise — you are more likely to be fatigued while operating
This study, Bigelow said, is
all about the truckers having their say. “It’s like voting. If you
don’t vote, you shouldn’t be complaining.”
The study has received
support from the Ontario Trucking Association, the Private Motor Truck
Council of Canada, the Owner-Operator's Business Association of Canada
(OBAC), the Women's Trucking Federation of Canada and individual truck
drivers such as Johanne Couture of the Owner-Operator Independent
Drivers Association (OOIDA).
The overall study including
this survey, along with engineering proposals for adding more parking
and truck-related services, should be available by spring or early
summer this year, according to SPR Associates, which is managing the
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