Parking debacle must end
TRUCK driving is a hard enough job already without having to stress about where you're going to park for the night when selfish motorists decide to park where they're not supposed to.
Not only does it stress out the driver who either has to keep going to find another rest stop or panic because he's out of hours, but it also puts unnecessary stress on those people at home, waiting to know their husband is safe for the night.
Geelong's Julie Harrison is one such wife, who many a night found herself not being able to concentrate on much else when her husband rang to say he needed to stop, but a car or caravan had taken up a possible spot.
"It fills you with worry because you know how tired they are already and you're thinking 'it's OK, they're going to stop in 10 minutes' and then they get there and can't get in,” she said.
"In some cases, it might be another hour until they find somewhere so you stay on the phone with them or just have to wait you get a message that they're safe.”
Julie, whose husband mostly works locally now instead of interstate, is close with a number of others who banded together to take a stand against parking habits.
The women started up the Facebook group "Stop the chaos - designated truck parking bays Australia” in an attempt to spearhead a campaign of education, awareness and fight for the drivers.
Part of their campaign was a petition, calling for a "change in peoples attitude/law towards designated parking bays”.
Julie, who was hoping the petition and group might help motorists learn more about truckies' plight, said she always talked to family and friends and tried to get them to understand the situation.
But their responses were always the same: "Why can't they just go to the next servo?”
"They just don't understand it's not that simple to just toddle off down the road.”
While parking has always been an issue for drivers, the need for education and a change in attitude from members of the public was highlighted during the recent busy Easter holiday period with "carpark chaos” in some areas, with truckies reportedly finding many service stations packed out with holiday makers.
In a post shared by the Transport Accident Report- Australia Wide Facebook page during the Easter weekend, parking at the Wallan BP north bound service station on the Hume Highway in Victoria was described as a "complete s**t show”.
The post directed truckies "looking for parking for your mandatory break” to "forget Wallan BP north bound, the holiday makers are having their mandatory breaks instead”.
The post was shared 485 times and attracted more than 800 comments with some offering solutions to the issue.
Parking attendants, more government spending on parking areas and more education for car and caravan drivers were some of the top suggestions.
One truckie's wife said "education for the public was necessary” and she would not "bury my husband because someone on holidays couldn't plan their time to park where they are supposed to”.
A BP spokesperson said BP had designated parking spots that were clearly signed for truck use only, so it was "disappointing that at times truck drivers were unable to access these”.
"We apologise for the inconvenience this would have caused,” the spokesperson said.
"Easter is always one of the busiest times on the road and, this is reflected at our service stations and travel centres.
"Our team takes all feedback seriously and we'll look at how we can improve in the future.
"BP knows the importance of providing clean, comfortable and safe facilities; our 500 plus truck stop facilities are located on or near major trucking routes allowing convenient access to premium fuel, great food and coffee, and comfortable rest areas.”
You can sign the petition here.