TRUCKIES PLEA: Don’t block our stops this festive season
MOTORISTS, particularly those towing caravans, are being urged to be smart about how they share roadside rest stops with trucks this Christmas holiday season.
With a major truck stop situated near Gatton, the trucking industry is calling for holidaymakers and road users in the region to be considerate to truck drivers trying manage their fatigue.
New statistics released by transport and logistics insurer NTI show 83 per cent of fatigue-related accidents involving trucks in the lead up to Christmas last year occured between 10pm and 6am.
That's despite only one-sixth of the country's freight being moved during those hours.
NTI's General Manager Janelle Greene said overcrowding at rest areas was a major problem in managing fatigue at this time of year.
"Fatigue-related crashes are twice as likely to be fatal and it is critical everyone has a safe place to stop, revive, survive," she said.
New 'mega roadside rest areas' have started opening alongside highways across the country providing separate areas for cars, caravans and trucks as well as providing toilets and undercover seating areas.
"We have identified 12 mega sites around Australia with some big enough to fit more than 20 semi-trailers and they're designed so that the truck's cabin faces away from headlights on the highway so drivers can get some quality sleep."
One of these 'mega sites' is the rest stop on the westbound lanes of the Warrego Hwy, north of Gatton.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council has also requested Transport and Main Roads designate James Norman Hedges Park at Helidon an overnight rest area for both campers and truck drivers to use.
Ms Greene said holidaymakers and motorists using old-style rest stops could help by parking to one side.
Truck driver Peter Caldow said poorly parked cars could stop trucks using a rest area.
"If there is a caravan or cars that aren't parked in the correct area it makes it a bit harder for us," he said.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has just completed an eight-day Operation Wake Up across Australia targeting fatigue.
More than 4000 trucks were stopped at 80 locations, and NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the overwhelming majority of heavy vehicle drivers were doing the right thing when it came to fatigue management.
"Managing your fatigue is one of the most important things you can do as a heavy vehicle operator to keep yourself and other road users safe and it is a responsibility drivers take very seriously because like other road users they want to get home to their family safely too," he said.