Drivers’ parking journals show they lose $5,000 annually to time spent finding parking

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Updated Dec 15, 2016
ATRI’s report sheds another light on the country’s parking shortage. It also revealed truckers using ELDs spent more time searching for parking.ATRI’s report sheds another light on the country’s parking shortage. It also revealed truckers using ELDs spent more time searching for parking.

Parking diaries kept by nearly 600 truck drivers for two weeks this year revealed truckers spend an average of 56 minutes per day searching for parking, costing them nearly $5,000 a year in lost wages, according to a report on the diaries issued this week by the American Transportation Institute.

The roughly hour-per-day average accounts for all parking attempts, including those for truckers’ required 10-hour break and others throughout the day. “With average driver pay at $42,500 annually, the lack of available parking is effectively reducing the average driver’s wages by 10 percent annually,” ATRI notes in its report.

The report, based on input from truckers who documented their parking experiences during two week periods between June and September, provided a few obvious notes, like finding parking is most difficult between 4 p.m. and midnight and parking’s scarcest on weekdays. However, the report also provides insights into other factors, like use of electronic logging devices extends the amount of time drivers spend searching for parking.

Truckers using ELDs more frequently reported spending more than 30 minutes searching for parking than those using paper logs. Drivers using ELDs spent 30 or more minutes searching for parking 10.6 percent of the times they sought parking, compared to 5.7 percent of the attempts of drivers using paper logs. Likewise, truckers using paper logs found parking in less than 15 minutes 77.4 percent of the time, compared to just 70.7 percent of the time for those using ELDs.

“ELD leaves no room for dealing with full truck stops making it nearly impossible to preplan,” said a flatbed driver from Alabama who submitted a journal to ATRI.

However, only 15 percent of the drivers who kept the parking journals use paper logs, so the numbers may be slightly skewed.

According to ATRI’s report, 63.4 percent of parking attempts that took 15 or more minutes to find a space occurred between 4 p.m. and midnight; 34.8 percent of attempts that took 15 minutes or longer occurred between 7 and midnight, while 28.6 percent occurred between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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Truckers in the diary program spent the most time searching for parking on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Nineteen percent of parking attempts on those days took longer than 30 minutes. Truckers spent the least amount of time searching for parking on Tuesdays, with 93 percent of attempts taking less than 15 minutes and just 13 percent of attempts taking over 30 minutes.

According to the journals, there was little variation in parking time regionally.

The truckers that kept parking diaries were mostly company drivers, 72.3 percent. Two percent were independents with their own authority, while 25.7 percent were owner-operators leased to carriers. More than half, 56.1 percent, pull van or reefer truckload, while 20.9 percent pull flatbed. The remainder was split among LTL drivers, tanker drivers, intermodal and “other” and “no response.” Fifty percent of the drivers who kept journals work for carriers with 1,000 or more power units.

To see the full report, which also includes information on reserved parking and more, click here.