(NewsNation) — One of the biggest challenges facing truck drivers is the lack of space on the road and at rest stops for drivers to safely park and sleep.
“It is a stress every driver has in their head every day when their day starts. Where am I going to park tonight?” said Chris Eme, a third-generation truck driver.
Truck drivers across the nation share the frustration, because truck stops are often totally full. Many drivers feel like their concerns aren’t being heard and some lawmakers do, too.
Illinois U.S. Rep. Mike Bost is tackling the issue head-on with the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. The bill would would allot federal funding for the expansion of truck parking capacity through the construction of new truck parking facilities, expansion of truck parking at existing rest areas or conversion of space at existing weigh stations.
It’s an issue he says is personal.
“I grew up in a trucking business and as matter of fact came home from the Marine Corps and ran that trucking business for 10 years. It’s still owned by my brother and my cousin,” Bost said.
Bost has been working on the bill for a year and he’s frustrated it has taken this long to finally get some attention.
“I’m really bothered by the fact that it was not included in the larger infrastructure bill. We tried to get it included,” he adds.
The bill would set aside more than $750 million in funding over five years to provide more parking for trucks on U.S. highways.
The legislation is gaining support on both sides of the aisle.
“They’ve got nowhere else to go. This is a public safety issue; this is a highway safety issue and I’m glad to be a part of a small number of members who are willing to change it,” Rep. Dusty Johnson said.
Truck drivers say more parking can’t come soon enough. Their time is electronically monitored closely, and when they have to stop to rest there is no time to spare.
But, the bill has a way to go. It is currently in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure awaiting a hearing. After that, it would go to the Senate for approval.
Still, there is no immediate end in sight for this sleeping problem for truckers.
“If we don’t get it this time, I guarantee you I will continue to fight to get it on the next set of bills that would begin to move at the beginning of next year,” Bost says.