For Full Story: Orlando Sentinel
Article By: Martin E. Comas
Federal laws require truck drivers to stop and rest after several hours behind the wheel.
But with more people shopping online these days, it means more trucks are on major highways. According to state figures, nearly 10,000 trucks travel on Interstate 4 in Central Florida every day.
However, truckers often pull into rest areas and find all the parking spots filled. Many end up parking along the shoulders of the highway. Thanks to new technology, truckers now have a new tool to help them find an empty spot.
On June 27, the state Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of its Truck Parking Availability System at seven rest areas and weigh stations along interstates 95 and 4 in Seminole, Brevard and Flagler counties.
Here’s how it works: Underground sensors shaped like hockey pucks were planted at each of the truck spaces, along with detection devices at the entrances and exits of the rest stops and weigh stations to monitor the number of available parking spaces.
The electronic sensors then relay the information to electronic message boards along I-4 and I-95 to let truckers down the highway know exactly how many empty spaces are available. The information is also posted on the state’s FL511.com website and mobile apps.
The locations that recently started using the new system include:
• I-4 eastbound rest area, near State Road 434, exit 94, in Seminole.
• I-95 northbound and southbound rest areas, near State Road 514, exit 173, in Brevard.
• I-95 northbound and southbound rest areas, near S.R. 46, exit 223, in Brevard.
• I-95 northbound weigh-in station north of State Road 100, exit 284, in Flagler.
• I-95 southbound weigh-in station south of Palm Coast Parkway, exit 289, in Flagler.
The sensor system also is being installed at rest areas along Interstate 75 in Marion and Sumter counties. Eventually, 2,300 of the state’s 2,510 public truck parking spaces will have the sensors, according to the transportation department.