Representatives Troy Nehls (R-Texas) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pennsylvania) have introduced legislation that would require shippers and receivers to grant truck drivers access to the facility’s restrooms.
While a handful of states have introduced, and some passed, similar legislation, there is currently no nationwide mandate in place on this matter. Meanwhile, our neighbors to the north in Canada passed government legislation last year requiring restroom access for delivery drivers at businesses.
“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 Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President and CEO Todd Spencer, whose organization, along with the Women in Trucking association, partnered on 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 of needs be accommodated while they are on the job.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that employers provide all workers with sanitary and immediately available restrooms; however, this authority does not extend coverage to non-employees that come to the facility such as customers and truck drivers.
Women in Trucking President and CEO Ellen Voie noted that as more women enter the trucking industry, the need for restroom access increases while access to facilities has decreased. The latter issue was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Houlahan pointed out that a lack of reliable access to a restroom is a barrier to entry for a sizable chunk of the labor force that the industry is working hard to recruit – women.
“Time and again, we’ve seen that when we include more women in our workforce, our economy prospers — that’s true for the trucking industry, too,” she said, “but restricted access to bathrooms is putting that progress in jeopardy.”
The legislation, likely to be reintroduced next year, would require retailers, warehouses and other businesses to give drivers access to bathroom facilities when they are picking up cargo or making deliveries. It does not require businesses to construct new restrooms. It only requires that if a business has a restroom available to their customers or employees, truck drivers should have the same access. It also requires operators of ports and terminals to provide bathroom access to drayage drivers.