A driver has set up an online petition to raise awareness of the issues faced by HGV drivers across the UK due to the lack of adequate rest areas available to them.
Self-employed driver Rob Williams set up the petition after hearing of the problems in Ashford in Kent last week, where more than 250 lorries were turned away from Ashford Truckstop on the first night that a new policy came in to clamp and fine illegally parked HGVs in certain areas.
In addition, since 1 November, drivers must take their full weekly rest breaks in cabs in formal rest areas – such as service areas and truckstops. Those who take their weekly rest in areas such as public lay-bys, on or close to public roads and on motorway slip roads risk being fined and prohibited by the DVSA.
“Drivers face being treated as a nuisance on the roads/treated like 2nd class citizens and have to put up with a lack of basic facilities/poor conditions and pay just to go about their daily working lives, many staying away from their homes and families all week,” Williams wrote on the petition.
In just four days, Williams’ petition has had more than 7,500 signatures towards his target of 10,000. He wants this issue to be debated in parliament as soon as possible.
“We have got to get this issue out there,” Williams told T&D. “It is getting more and more difficult to find somewhere to park. It is something that I don’t think the public realise is an issue.”
Williams has also sent a letter to his local Conservative MP, Kit Malthouse, outlining his grievances: “Many HGV drivers are forced to park in unsecure laybys due to the horrendous charges imposed by service stations throughout the UK often being charged in excess of £30 a night whilst facing inadequate facilities provided by these service areas with broken/filthy showers, a very poor standard of food and parking where little or no CCTV covers the areas where they are parked, this results in curtains being slashed, loads tampered with, fuel and or loads being stolen while we sleep.”
He concluded his letter by saying: “It’s high time this industry was recognised as an essential part of this country and stop being bullied and regulated to the point of extinction.”
To view the petition, click here.