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New legislation provides bathroom access for truck drivers

Shippers, retailers, marine terminals would be required to open their facilities to truckers

Proposed bill requires warehouses to allow drivers access to restrooms. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

New legislation would for the first time require commercial warehouses, retailers and ports to allow truck drivers to use their restroom facilities when picking up or dropping off freight.

The Trucker Bathroom Access Act, introduced Thursday by U.S. Reps. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-Penn.), adds language to federal law to ensure such access while drivers are working.

“American truckers are this nation’s backbone, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for the tremendous contributions they made during the pandemic,” said Nehls in a statement, noting that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) lobbied for the bill.

“We’ve heard from countless drivers who have been forced to ‘hold it’ because they were not allowed to access the bathroom when they were picking up or delivering freight,” said OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer in thanking Nehls for sponsoring the legislation. “The men and women of America’s trucking industry keep our supply chain moving, and it’s only reasonable that their most basic needs be accommodated while they are on the job.”

Ellen Voie, president and CEO of WIT, also thanked Nehls for his effort.

“As more women enter the trucking industry, the need for restroom access increases while access to facilities has decreased,” Voie said.


Houlahan commented that the bipartisan legislation “will give all truckers, and female drivers in particular, the confidence of having access to a restroom when they deliver goods to businesses and American families. Ultimately, keeping more drivers on the road means fewer supply chain delays and lower costs.”

According to the bill’s language, facilities covered under the legislation include “a place of business open to the general public for the sale of goods or services,” and “a shipper, receiver, manufacturer, warehouse, distribution center or any other business entity that is receiving or sending goods by commercial motor vehicle.”

Places not covered include rail facilities, as well as “any structure such as a filling station, service station or restaurant of 800 square feet or less that has a restroom located within such structure that is only intended for use by employees.”

Restroom access requirements at seaports for drayage truckers are outlined in a separate section of the bill. It states that marine terminal operators — and port authorities, if they directly operate the terminal — shall provide:

  • Access to existing restrooms while covered drayage truck operators are on port property and when such access does not pose an obvious safety risk to such truck operators and other employees of the terminal operator in the area.
  • Additional restrooms, if necessary, at locations where there is the most need.
  • A place for covered drayage truck operators to park vehicles while accessing such restrooms.

Nehls’ legislation is based on similar proposals introduced in Washington state and Pennsylvania earlier this year. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in March signed into law a scaled-down version that applies only to drayage truckers and marine terminals that became effective in June. Pennsylvania’s proposal, introduced in March, has not advanced.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

64 Comments

  1. Malik

    We need to be able to use the restroom in the facility. Porta Potty is for highway workers where restrooms are not present. Truckers should have access to a clean bathroom.

  2. James Miller

    Wow, I am finally going to get to use a real restroom at a shipper, or receiver. That is just aoad off my mind and so important that its women once again to the rescue as is if your BLACK that seems to fit the narrative or the agenda mow aways.

    I think we have more important issues facing the tired old trucking industry such as road closure now since states refuse to properly clean their roadways in the winter, so we suffer loss of pay. How about getting paid all hours while sitting waiting to unload or reload including getting paid all miles driven. Or how about dealing with all the maniacs behind the wheel of cars and trucks who make matters even more unsafe for safe drivers like myself and others.

    How about shippers and receivers forced to give overnight parking or when out of hours require a break because they took too long to unload or load. How about the foolish hours of service regulations that are forcing drivers to go on break even when they aren’t tired which is causing more accidents and more health issues for drivers.

    BATHROOM USAGE GIVE ME A BREAK, NO PUN INTENDED. BS AND MORE BS. YOU LEGISLATORS COULD GIVE A CRAP LESS ABOUT THE SO CALLED BACKBONE OF THE COUNTRY ( ESSENTIAL WORKERS ) WE AREN’T ANYMORE ESSENTIAL THAN THE MAN ON THE MOON.

    IF YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT THE CONCERNS OF THE PUBLIC, HOW ABOUT TRY THIS ON FOR SIZE.( TERM LIMITS ) FOR ALL OF YOU MAKING USE OF YOUR GREED, POWER, AND POPULATION CONTROL

  3. Nunyo Beeswax

    This has been an issue for years and its about time something was done about it. The thing that bothers me is how they seem to be using women drivers as a reason to push it through, as if men don’t need or deserve bathroom facilities just as badly. This is not a female need, its a human need and outrageous that as a driver, you drive 8 hours straight to get to a receiver on time and are told you can’t use their restroom. It happened to me often. If they have problems with drivers messing up a restroom, post a sign stating that your business will call the employer to report any destruction or misuse of facilities, then do it! End of problem.

  4. James free

    It’s about time they give us access to the bathroom I mean even if it’s Porta potty atleast we would have something we don’t ask for much and my number 1 gripe and complain is why is these truck stops charging for parking the trucking companies and owner operators are paying thousands and thousands of dollars every year and the stuck stops want to charge for parking there is no excuse for this at all I refuse to pay for parking at all I will go park on a street somewhere before I pay for parking this must come to a stop and you people that doesn’t agree with me and the ones that pays for parking for the hell of it your the ones that’s keeping that going and you can suck my ass over that your doing nothing but giving them free money everytime you do that well anyways I hope you truckers can agree with me on this

  5. Linda crampton

    You see this alot. No facility use or porta potty. What really gets me is when you get somewhere and they don’t have facilities for women. 27 years and its finally changing….BTW some people are very nasty and this is the reason at certain places.

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.