Audio voiceover of this piece:
To pee or not to pee—that is the question.
After you've been on the road for many hours, you probably need to use the restroom. But how would you feel if you arrived at your destination only to be told—not that the bathroom was out of order, but that you simply weren't allowed to use them?
For many truckers around the U.S., this is a regular occurrence. At many of the warehouses, ports, retailers, and other destinations where truckers need to spend time loading or unloading cargo, these facilities have been able to deny access to existing restrooms for truck drivers. And this can be a severe issue for truckers as these may be some of the only bathroom facilities in the area.
"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 Todd Spencer, President, and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
Well, all of that may be about to change.
“What is the Trucker Bathroom Access Act?”
On December 15, 2022, U.S. Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Troy Nehls (R-Tex.) introduced a new bill called the Trucker Bathroom Access Act.
Simply put, the Trucker Bathroom Access Act would legally require access to existing restrooms at most facilities where truck drivers are picking up and delivering shipments. These facilities include ports, warehouses, and larger retail locations.
The Trucker Bathroom Access Act has received bipartisan support to assist the nation's economy by equipping truckers with the facilities they need to keep the country's supply chain moving.
“I am proud to introduce legislation to ensure our great American truckers have basic access to restroom facilities while working,” said Representative Nehls. “American truckers are this nation’s backbone, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for the tremendous contributions they made during the pandemic.”
What does the Trucker Bathroom Access Act not include?
Smaller Areas May Be Exempt
The Trucker Bathroom Access Act only applies to what the bill classifies as "covered establishments." Smaller filling stations, service stations, restaurants under 800 square feet in size, or rail facilities are not included under this classification according to the bill.
New Restrooms Not Required
The bill does not require the construction of any new restrooms explicitly for truckers, only use of existing restroom facilities on the premises.
Porta-Johns May Count
Among the options considered “covered restrooms” are “portable chemical toilets”—what many may call porta-johns.
For details, you can read the full language of the Trucker Bathroom Act here.