Time to get fair dinkum over truckie rest areas

TRUCKIES need a proper rest.

That's the message from NRMA Motoring and Services president Wendy Machin, who has called for governments to get 'Fair Dinkum' about upgrading rest areas to cater for the needs of NSW highway users - particularly truck drivers.

The call comes after heavy-vehicle driver reforms introduced last year that force drivers to take breaks or face fines.

“Heavy vehicle driver fatigue reforms were introduced last year specifically designed to improve safety,” Ms Machin said.

“But currently, there is a serious lack of rest areas suitable for truckies along most of the State's highways.

“What good are the laws if adequate infrastructure isn't in place for truckies to stop and rest?”

The Australian and New Zealand Road Transport and Traffic Authorities (Austroads) defines that a 'major rest area' must contain at least 15 parking spaces, separate parking for heavy and light vehicles and cater for long rest breaks.

Currently, only 54 per cent of rest stops along the Pacific Highway comply with these standards - and there are no heavy vehicle specific rest areas between Coffs Harbour and the border.

“This is where our main push is for the Pacific Highway,” Ms Machin said.

“There are a lot of rest areas, but they simply are not adequate in most instances for overnight stays - many do not have toilet facilities, etcetera. So how are truckies expected to adhere to strict driver fatigue laws if the government can't provide adequate facilities?”

Ms Machin said up to 30 per cent of fatal heavy vehicle crashes are linked to fatigue, and having sub-standard rest stops was simply unacceptable.

“The trucking industry provides a vital source of food and supplies - not only for NSW but for the rest of the country - and urgent action is needed to provide enough places for truck and car drivers to stop along NSW highways.”

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