Text and rest bays on the cards

TEXT TRUMPS REST: Drivers call for rest bays as texting bays are trialed
TEXT TRUMPS REST: Drivers call for rest bays as texting bays are trialed Warren Lynam

TEXTING bays have been introduced as part of a a trial in Western Australia in a bid to improve safety, however truck drivers and industry groups remain steadfast in the call for more rest areas.  

With a number of possible upgrades in the coming months. 

The texting bays, part of an Australian first, have been developed by RoadWise Committees across WA's South West and Peel Regions  in a bid remind drivers of the distraction mobiles phones pose. 

The group has introduced five texting bays for the trial, identified by electronic signs, along the Forrest and South West Highways south of Perth.  

Western Australian Road Transport Association Executive Officer Cam Dumesny says the association will wait on the results of the trail before forming a position. 

"We welcome the Road Safety Commissions preparedness to trial new ideas to improve safety," Mr Dumesny said.

"However from our perspective the priority must remain on rest areas for our truck drivers."

A result which looks increasingly likely, with a number of Road Safety Commission groups travelling the state in recent months, with a view to introducing proper road-side rest stops for truck drivers.

The stops would facilitate the opportunity to rest and have a shower. 

Road Safety Commissioner, Kim Papalia, led a team to the North West of WA, where discussions were held with local interest groups. 

"To combat fatigue and reduce risk on the roads, these rest stops will allow drivers and their passengers to stop, take a break and use facilities in a safe environment," Mr Papalia said.

RSC teams held meetings in the Kimberley and Pilbara, in an effort to hear, firsthand, the road safety issues facing heavy haulage drivers.

Mr Papalia used the opportunity to drive a three trailer road train from Karratha to Onslow.

"It was a great experience to learn exactly the circumstances faced by drivers of such enormous rigs," Mr Papalia said.

Big Rigs