The nation’s highways are crowded, but not nearly as crowded as the nation’s rest areas. Drivers often cannot find safe places to park for the night within their allotted legal driving hours and are then faced with the choice of risking their safety and the safety of their vehicle and cargo, or driving on a few extra miles and risking getting caught in violation of their HOS.
TravelCenters of America which operates TA and Petro Shopping Centers across the country is taking advantage of the drivers’ predicament. If drivers want to guarantee themselves a spot for the night, they must call in and, using a credit card, pay a non-refundable fee of anywhere from $ 7-$ 12.
The problem is that this service isn’t actually helping the issue of overcrowding at all. It doesn’t create any new spaces, and it doesn’t make any existing spaces safer. This is just one more way corporate America has their hand in the driver’s back pocket.
While they make this out to be a convenient innovation for drivers, the only real winner in this situation is going to be TravelCenters. Instead of cashing in on the parking shortage under the pretence of helping drivers, own up to the fact that you’re taking advantage of a problem that’s affecting driver safety.