NatRoad has called on the federal and state government to start getting rest areas right and to work with the road transport industry to solve the problem of inadequate Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas across Australia. This call is in reaction to the recently published Austroads Guidelines for the Provision of Rest Area Facilities.
“The National Guidelines are valuable, but a similar set was issued by the National Transport Commission in 2005 and 14 years on, there are still many freight routes that don’t have an adequate number of rest areas with decent facilities,” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO. “NatRoad has repeatedly said that there is an urgent need to build and maintain enough heavy vehicle rest areas with appropriate facilities. All too often truck stops aren’t located where they are required, and even where they do exist availability of spaces and basic amenities can be a problem.”
Lack of adequate rest areas is a critical road safety issue, not just for heavy vehicle drivers but all road users. Government action is the key to solving this problem. Local councils and governments need to acknowledge the immediate need to build heavy vehicle rest facilities that provide basic needs together with security on site, so that drivers feel comfortable and safe when on the road.
According to the report, the need for rest areas on freight routes will depend on their length, remoteness and the level of freight traffic. As freight demand changes, it will be necessary to remain aware of the extent to which the existing rest area network is satisfying the needs of heavy vehicle operators. Importantly, the report tells us, road manager staff will need to liaise with the local freight industry to aid in identifying the changing needs for rest area provision.
“The release of the National Guidelines presents itself as an opportunity for state and territory governments to review their plans correcting gaps between what they have and what the National Guidelines suggest they should have,” said Warren.
“We now look to the national and local authorities to set out plans to ensure there are adequate facilities on key freight routes so that heavy vehicle drivers can effectively manage their fatigue and comply with their legal work and rest obligations in rest areas that provide them with decent levels of service.”