Govt inaction on rest stops could prove disastrous: ATA NSW

By: Graham Gardiner

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) NSW has called for the NSW Government to act quickly and deliver adequate rest areas for

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) NSW has called for the NSW Government to act quickly and deliver adequate rest areas for truck drivers.

NSW Manager Jill Lewis says that the fact that NSW RTA is not treating the serious lack of rest areas as urgent could prove to be a life and death situation for some drivers.

"With the approach of the new Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue legislation rapidly approaching, ATA NSW has expressed their concern that mandatory rest breaks for drivers will be almost impossible to comply with, due to the lack of rest areas on NSW roads," she says.

"With the new legislation to be enforced in less than four months, all those in the chain of responsibility have a duty of care to ensure that fatigue is addressed appropriately. It is not just for the safety of our drivers, but for the general public as well.

"With tens of thousands of heavy vehicles on our roads, it is the responsibility of the entire supply chain to ensure that we deliver, not only goods and services safely but make sure our drivers return home to their families and loved ones in one piece."

ATA NSW has also recently found information about the location of rest areas on the NSW RTA website to be flawed. For example, the Mackey VC rest area (southbound) 0.5km north of SH25 Illawarra Highway off-ramp is, at best, only suitable for heavy rigid vehicles.

Likewise, with the Pheasants Nest rest area at the service station (northbound) 6km north of Picton the road on-ramp is actually 6km south of the Picton Road on-ramp and is known to truck drivers as the Mobil service station. The truckstop at Sally’s Corner service station (northbound) 3 km south of SH25 illawarra Highway off-ramp is simply the Shell at Sutton Forest.

"ATA NSW has requested NSW RTA to update the rest area information on their website to include suitability for heavy rigid vehicles, semis, b-doubles and road trains. Also to list amenities such as fresh drinking water, toilets, lighting, and where possible, to commonly name the rest area," Lewis says.

"As drivers begin to prepare themselves for the arrival of these laws, how are they supposed to plan their trips to comply with mandatory rest breaks without the correct information on where they can pull over?

"For example, if a rest area is not suitable for a b-double, the operators and drivers should know before they leave the depot.

"What is a driver to do when they go to pull over for the mandatory rest break only to find that the area is not big enough for them to turn around in?"

ATA NSW is calling on members to download the list of truck rest area locations and to make comments on their suitability and send them into the association for further action.

"ATA NSW will continue to remind regulators that operators and drivers must be armed with the right information and facilities to ensure compliance with the incoming fatigue laws," Lewis says.

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