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.
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