Truck friendly caravanner Ken Wilson is calling for clearer signage – along with consistent and more definitive legislation – to help stamp out the on-going misuse of truckies’ rest areas.
While Queensland has made some recent changes in the right direction, the manager of the self-funded Truck Friendly caravan group said there is still a lot more to do there – and Australia wide – in order to keep non fatigue-regulated vehicles out of the designated truck stops.
He said the law and signage as it stands leaves too much wriggle room for abuse by some RV and caravan users and in many cases isn’t enforceable in court if fines are contested. Wilson has written to transport industry stakeholders, all state and territory governments asking them to work together for uniformity.
Wilson said that in almost all states, a definition of a ‘truck’ is a ‘rigid vehicle designed to carry goods’, which includes all the dual cab utes towing caravans.
He said many descriptions in legislation also refer to a ‘Heavy Vehicle’ as ‘a vehicle over 4.5t’. This description will also include many large motorhomes.
“If the vehicles fit the description of a ‘truck’ or ‘heavy vehicle’ how can they be legally excluded from using these signed rest areas?” said Wilson.
Silhouette signage of trucks and cars are also a concern with little or no legal meaning, he added.
“This is a national problem and needs a national solution with all states and territories agreeing on common legislation and effective, enforceable signage.
“No one can expect any traveller to stop at the state border and google the individual state rest area legislation before they cross into the next state.”
The campervan and hire companies, rest area apps and web sites, also need to improve, said Wilson, offering better, legal and accurate descriptions of which rest areas are not to be used by local and international drivers hiring a camper or motorhome.
“Truck Friendly has been a leader in helping educate caravanners and motorhome drivers on the correct use of truck / heavy vehicle designated rest areas. However, it is hard to argue the intended usage of the area when legislation and signage offer ambiguous descriptions leading to intended or accidental misuse,” he said.
“The transport industry is heavily regulated, and the fatigue regulated truck drivers should be able to have a safe place to stop and sleep for their compulsory legal rest periods.
“Many are finding these areas filled with caravans, motorhomes and campervans spread out throughout the site, which prevents the long B-Doubles and B-Triple trucks from having space to safely park.
“If the intended use is for fatigue regulated, or heavy commercial vehicles to use, why doesn’t the signage simply state that. For example, signs that simply state, ‘fatigue regulated vehicles only’ or ‘commercial heavy vehicles only”, leaving little room for misinterpretation.”
Truck Friendly is a national, privately funded road safety program helping to educate RV drivers caravanners and other travellers on safe towing practices and how to interact with the heavy vehicles on our highways. It receives no government, nor industry funding, apart from printing support.