Hope Rivenburg releases her truck parking survey results

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 12/9/2013

Since her husband’s death more than four years ago, Hope Rivenburg has worked tirelessly to bring awareness and find solutions to address the growing truck parking problem in this country.

Recently, Rivenburg released the results of her safe truck parking survey, which outlines drivers’ responses about where safe truck parking options are desperately needed in areas in the U.S.

The survey is dedicated to Hope Rivenburg’s husband, Jason, a truck driver who was murdered for $7 while he rested at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina. He arrived too early with his load of milk to the Food Lion in Elloree, S.C., and was turned away because Food Lion does not allow truck parking. He never arrived with his load of milk.

Of the nearly 4,000 respondents who rated safe and legal parking options in several places of the country, approximately 80 percent said the Northeast region was the hardest region in the nation to find parking. Southern California region was second on the list at 46 percent and the Mid-Atlantic region was third with 45 percent.

Of those who responded to the survey, more than 27 percent are away from home four to six nights per week, another 24 percent are gone seven or more nights, and 21 percent are gone at least a month or more on the road.

The top five cities identified as needing improvement to increase safe and adequate truck parking included: Atlanta, Ga.; Baltimore, Md.; Bentonville, Ark.; Boston, Mass.; and Charlotte, N.C.

On average, 44 percent say it takes them less than 60 minutes to find parking once they are mandated to take a break, while 39 percent says it takes them more than an hour to find a place to park.

Rivenburg’s online survey was sent out to drivers over a three-month period from May through August.

In early December, Rivenburg told Land Line she met with Tom Kearney, freight operations program manager for the Federal Highway Administration, to share her truck parking survey results.

In mid-June, FHWA announced it was also moving forward with its truck parking survey plan, filing a Federal Register notice, the first formal step in the agency’s plan as directed in the current highway law known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21.

However, FHWA’s truck parking survey is still not out of the gate.

Some of the comments in the Rivenburg survey included personal experiences from truck drivers struggling to find parking.

“I start looking about the 10th hour,” said one driver. “I hate to have to give up an hour of driving, but by the time I try two truck stops and maybe a rest area or find out the rest areas are closed, I waste one hour. With the EOBR, I cannot drive over my 11 hours even if it’s for finding a safe spot. The law and the company don’t care. All they see is the 11 hours.”

Another driver said, “Now the latest HOS rules are in effect, causing even more drivers to operate in the same 14-hour time period. Truck stops are filling up rapidly from late afternoon on. If you are delayed by shipper-receivers and still wish to use available driving hours, you are in for a rough night. This happens almost every night.”

“I would like to thank all the drivers that took the time to take the survey and who participated in the focus group, Rivenburg told Land Line. “They gave us some valuable information.”

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