One of the issues highlighted during the fatigueHack at the Truck Australia 2018 conference was there was much more rest area data needed. Operators and drivers should have access to knowledge about where the rest areas are on our highways and it should be freely accessible.
Transport Certification Australia (TCA) has announced it is consolidating heavy vehicle rest area information for navigation devices and services used by heavy vehicle drivers. The TCA’s work will allow technology providers to incorporate heavy vehicle rest area information through in-cab devices and services.
“The consolidation of heavy vehicle rest area information, which incorporates both formal and informal rest area locations, is long overdue,” said Chris Koniditsiotis, TCA CEO. “Despite general rest area information being offered through consumer navigation devices, heavy vehicle drivers face difficulties in finding in-cab devices and services which meet their specific needs.”
Consumer navigation devices are typically orientated towards passenger vehicles and drivers, and do not always distinguish heavy vehicle rest areas from general rest area locations. Truck drivers need information about rest areas (including the size and number of parking bays, the availability of facilities, shade and other details).
Trucks have to rely on the availability of informal rest areas, which are not always recognised, let alone mapped, as rest are locations.
The industry body has spoken up about the lack of Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas following the recent publishing of the Austroads Guidelines for the Provision of Rest Area Facilities.
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.
Access to toilets, lighting and water are a basic human right, yet the highest proposed truck rest area classifications only list these as desirable, these amenities are a requirement. No other workplace would compromise on these facilities, so why should drivers have to?

In its response to the report, the ATA has made a number of recommendations:

  • Governments should provide truck rest areas every 20 kilometres, allowing drivers to comply with work diary rules
  • There should be no general and caravan parking in the truck section of any rest area, and this must be enforced
  • Specific engagement of women drivers should be undertaken on the provision of toilet facilities at rest area locations, and on whether these should be unisex or gender specific, and
  • Guidelines must prevent road agencies from temporarily closing rest areas to store roadworks materials.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia has welcomed NHVR support for an education and awareness campaign to help road and rest stop users to “Coexist” as part of a wider initiative to deliver safer roads. Announced by Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, the campaign will also target other general issues regarding trucks and caravans on the roads.
One issue that is often a frustration for truck drivers is the use of marked heavy vehicle rest stops by motorists towing caravans.

The Coexist campaign will cover the importance of all drivers abiding by signage to ensure trucks can access designated rest stops to allow for breaks and managing fatigue. The Federal Government is investing money in valuable road safety initiatives that have been called for by industry and are targeted to where they can make a real difference.

For information regarding the locations of driver reviver and rest stop zones for both light and heavy vehicles, head to the NSW rest areas at https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/using-roads/trip-information/rest-areas/map/index.html
This map allows you to filter sites based on their wheel chair accessibility, location of toilets and picnic facilities. Always follow the signs appropriately and allow heavy vehicles their space for the benefit of all road users.