By Jena Williams

This time of year, most people think it’s finding a well-lit spot close to the mall entry. But if you’re a long-haul truck driver it’s more like finding somewhere legal to park so you can sleep where you won’t be robbed, killed or disturbed by prostitutes.

According to the 2013 Truck Parking Survey and Focus Group Results, the end of truck drivers’ shifts can be very stressful as they attempt to find a place to park for the night. Truck stops are often full and customer sites and city ordinances commonly prohibit trucks from parking overnight.

Of the 3,996 respondents to the survey, 39% stated that it often takes over an hour to find a place to park to take their mandated breaks. And during the past 12 months, 88% stated that they had to park somewhere that they didn’t feel safe during a mandatory rest break or during loading or unloading.

55% stated that they occasionally felt fatigued or unsafe because they had to keep driving when they couldn’t find a safe place to park.

One quote from the study was particularly telling “…Anytime I am out of hours and can’t find parking is dangerous. It’s a lose-lose situation. Park illegally or drive illegally. There is no legal solution.”

Most likely when you climb into bed at night, you feel safe, with no one to disturb you but your own family or pets. Imagine what it would be like to have to find a safe place to sleep each night… with the potential of being disturbed by a police citation or worse, someone who intends to harm you.

What can we do to make sleeping safer for the drivers who bring us everything we need?

2013 Truck Parking Survey and Focus Group Results: