The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is calling for evidence from drivers about their experiences of rest facilities available across the country.
The call comes ahead of new regulations coming in on 1 November, which will see drivers fined by the DVSA if they take their full weekly rest break in their cabs.
The FTA is campaigning for urgent action to provide more secure, safe and good quality rest areas for drivers close to major routes, to prevent HGV operators from being forced to take their mandated rest in their cabs. To reinforce the argument that an increased amount of decent quality, cost-effective rest stops is required for HGV drivers nationwide, the FTA is asking for photographs of the facilities encountered by drivers to be sent to the association’s @newsfromfta Twitter account with the hashtag #ftarest.
“We fully support the need for drivers to step away from their cabs to take their rest breaks,” said Malcolm Bingham, head of road network policy at FTA. “But without a consistent, widespread network of safe and secure rest stops nationwide, drivers will still opt to take rest in their cabs particularly when their fully fitted cab offers a better standard than some accessible amenities. FTA is calling on government to use common sense in applying the new £300 fines system, to accommodate the fact that in parts of the country, facilities for drivers are substandard, or simply not available.
“For the men and women keeping our freight traffic on the road, finding a secure, comfortable place to park is a challenge every day. The provision of adequate rest areas for drivers is set out as a requirement in EU law and yet little progress is being made in ensuring consistency of facilities across the country. The British government should be leading the way on such a critical issue and we are confident that drivers will help us to make this point to government in a highly visible manner, through our Twitter campaign.”
EU law states that rest facilities should be located about every 100km across the European road network by 2030 and the European Commission is co-financing safe and secure parking projects under the Connecting Europe Facility Fund.
Bingham added while facilities continue to fall short of requirements, drivers should be given alternative options: “Until there are enough facilities of a suitable and consistent standard, FTA is asking that drivers should be allowed to spend their weekly rest break in their vehicle, as long as it has suitable sleeping facilities and there are sanitary facilities nearby. Nobody wants to see drivers sleeping in laybys, which is dangerous for the individuals and their loads, and unsanitary for other road users.”