WE NEED THEM NOW: Rod Hannifey says action needs to be taken.
WE NEED THEM NOW: Rod Hannifey says action needs to be taken. Kirstin Payne

REST AREAS: 'We need to stop going backwards'

SHADE, toilets, drinking water, showers, security, sound barriers.

Those things seem pretty simple, right? Well, when it comes to putting those kinds of things in our rest areas designated for heavy vehicle drivers, it's not so simple.

Across the country, hundreds of rest areas for our truckies lack these simple amenities, and that needs to change.

Someone who has been lobbying for those changes for many, many years is road safety advocate Rod Hannifey.

Rod said it was vital to have a national truck rest area strategy that had some "driver input to placement and design" so no spot was closed without consultation or replacement.

"Then we will, at the very least, stop going backwards," he said. "New roads and realignments must be looked at with truck rest areas in mind, possibly using the old road for some rest areas instead of wasting money ripping up what could be nearly free sites."

Rod said he believed if authorities used fatigue crash data, should this show such areas with very few rest areas as having too many crashes, then these should be the next areas for attention.

"Be they informal bays to start with, or new sites or increased capacity," he said.

"We need more truck rest areas now and we need a plan to see them built.

"Yes, they must be targeted to where they are needed, they must be of a suitable size and design and with suitable facilities so truck drivers can manage their fatigue, and they must not be allowed to be taken over by others for free camping."

Rod will work with delegates from the Trucking Australia conference in April to design the perfect rest area.

Groups will discuss where the rest areas should be located, their physical layout, the facilities they should have and how governments can provide amenities in remote areas.

We reached out to our readers and asked them exactly what they wanted.

Shade, toilets, a barbecue area and better enforcement for "truck only" bays rated very high.

Keith Morrell wants sound barriers between the highway and noisy freight sections for stock crates, bitumen tankers and fridges etc.

"Or, if you want to make it easier and cheaper, just let us park in towns somewhere, where all of this is usually accessible!"

Sarah Kay argued for better security.

"(We need) to ensure it's only trucks in designated areas. I second fines for other vehicles in designated truck areas," she said.

"Healthy food options and to be able to order ahead to give a driver more time for a proper rest break rather than waiting in a queue. A gym, even if it is only an exercise bike, a good chiropractor, myotherapist and medical care too."

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