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ASCM Insights

Truckers’ Safety Problem Is Also a Problem for Supply Chain


The American Transportation Research Institute recently released a report that ranks the top concerns of commercial truck drivers. There were two issues last year that tied for the number-one spot: Compensation was one — but you might be surprised by the other. It wasn’t the ongoing driver shortage, infrastructure challenges, facility delays or even road congestion. It was simply parking.

The report states that finding a parking spot is a frustration that truck drivers deal with regularly. In fact, there are about 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States and approximately 313,000 truck parking spaces. This means that, for every 11 drivers, there’s just one truck parking space, according to a joint letter from the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. As a result, drivers needing to rest or pull over when ahead of schedule often have to resort to a highway shoulder, the side of an exit ramp or a vacant lot.

To address the problem, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation will use funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to add truck parking spaces along the I-4 corridor in Florida, I-40 East, and areas in Kentucky and Montana. The overall effort also includes technology to help truckers find parking. In fact, 90% of drivers have reported problems locating spaces — many of these workers spend as long as an hour driving around searching. This translates to a $5,500 loss in annual compensation, or roughly a 12% pay cut.

But there’s more at stake than money. “Truck parking is a safety issue — both for truck drivers and all other road users,” said Stephanie Pollack, acting administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. Further, truck driver fatigue is a factor in about 15% of commercial motor vehicle crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports. This problem is exacerbated when truckers can’t park in safe designated areas, as it’s tough to get quality sleep when you’re worried about improper parking or even attacks on your life. Tragically, the need for safer truck parking was brought to the fore back in 2009 when 35-year-old trucker Jason Rivenburg lost his life while sleeping in his cab at an abandoned gas station. A passerby noticed $7 in cash on his dashboard and shot Rivenburg twice while robbing him.

Of course, such safety failures only exacerbate the existing challenges faced by the industry: the labor shortage, warehousing schedules that waste truckers’ time, rising gas prices and concerns about cargo loads decreasing amid climbing interest rates. In the past year, the industry did see some wins with an average 10% pay increase as well as support via a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package to build and fix roads, bridges and highways; develop transportation safety programs; support a truck driver apprenticeship program; and enact other safety measures. Yet still more than half of surveyed truckers are looking to switch jobs in the next year.  

Be a partner

Truckers are an essential part of supply chains and economies. We must do better for them by learning more about trucking and supporting their efforts through improved processes and collaboration. The APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution certification program educates learners about transportation and ways to improve logistics efficiency. With these insights, supply chain professionals are better equipped to work with truckers and others in the logistics, transportation and distribution fields. Let’s keep supply chains moving safely.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted at

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