The clarion call from, long time trucking advocate, Rod Hannifey for many years has been for the authorities to fix truck rest areas! This is a subject which has exercised Rod’s mind for many years and he still finds the lot of the truck driver, out on the highway looking for somewhere to park up, getting worse.
“It is time something is done,” says Rod. “It has taken nearly 18 years to get recognition and involvement from just two road authorities for the green reflector marking of informal truck bays. One bay can be signed with 6 stick on reflectors at a cost of $5 each and done in 15 minutes. You will never get a better cost benefit ratio for a road safety initiative that could save a life and drivers tell me I have saved their life, in showing somewhere to stop safely.
“If we cannot get bits of dirt marked with reflectors, how the hell are we to get enough suitable and sufficient bays for the growing number of trucks on the road, let alone all the caravanners and free campers? There have been more bays closed and lost than have been built in the last ten years.”
Rod takes aim at the decision makers who are closing bays for petty reasons. He points out their offices have toilets on every floor, food and beverages available and no problems getting a meal or quiet spot for a break.
Most parking bays are far from adequate, but even a bad bay is better than nothing. Bays are getting closed by road authorities rather than being improved, because the trucking community is such a low priority, reckons Rod.
“Look at the Hilltop, on the Colo Vale overpass, southbound on the Hume coming out of Sydney,” says Rod. “When I saw temporary closures on the site, I rang RMS to be told they were fixing the area. It had serious potholes that meant you had to be nearly stopped to enter or leave.
“Two weeks later, there is Armco end to end. Another number of calls over months, to finally be told an RMS staffer had seen a near miss when a car would not let a truck merge, no different to when they won’t let us merge on merging lanes, yet it was closed. The money spent on the Armco, could easily have properly fixed the potholes for years to come.”
Rod goes on to list large numbers of other sites where the bays are inadequate or just blocked off. There is a legal requirement on stater governments to provide adequate roadside parking. Any audit of the situation in just about every state would show these state governments falling well short of the minimum requirement.