Bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives would improve truck drivers’ access to restrooms at facilities where they are picking up or delivering cargo.
The bill, sponsored by Reps. Troy Nehls, a Texas Republican, and Chrissy Houlahan, a Pennsylvania Democrat, would require retailers, warehouses and other businesses to allow drivers to use bathrooms available to customers or employees.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers and Women in Trucking associations support the law, which would apply to port and terminal operators, requiring them to open their restrooms to drayage drivers. It does not require the construction of new restrooms, only that businesses allow drivers to use existing facilities.
“The men and women of America’s trucking industry keep our supply chain moving and it’s only reasonable that their most basic of needs be accommodated while they are on the job,” Todd Spencer, president and CEO of OOIDA, said in a statement. “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.”
The legislation would ensure truck drivers can access restroom facilities while working, Nehls said in a statement.
“American truckers are this nation’s backbone, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for the tremendous contributions they made during the pandemic,” Nehls said.
Requiring restroom access for drivers by federal law would give drivers “the confidence of having access to a restroom when they deliver goods to businesses and American families,” Houlahan said in a statement.
“Especially as the trucking industry continues to face employee retention challenges, we must ensure that we are providing truckers a working environment that honors the vital role they play in growing our economy,” Houlahan said. “Ultimately, keeping more drivers on the road means fewer supply chain delays and lower costs.”
Ellen Voie, president and CEO of Women in Trucking, said her organization applauds the bill to address what she called a “very basic need.” She added that drivers’ access to restroom facilities has been limited at a time when more women are entering the industry.
The bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit on Dec. 16.