Goodaye all. Where did you sleep this week? Did you sleep in your own bed or if away from home, in a nice hotel? Even if you slept in a cheap motel, you would have had clean sheets, a clean shower and toilet and at the very least, food available possibly on site and or, other choices close by.
By law, I cannot park the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV) in front of a motel or caravan park and go inside and spend the night. I am only allowed to park a commercial vehicle for one hour in a place with either kerbing and channelling or a system of streetlighting, depending on which state you live in.
So in theory, I must park in a truckstop or truck rest area, unless I have a yard or the capacity to park off the road and few customers allow you to park and sleep onsite. So where do I get my shower, my clean sheets and have access to a toilet and reasonable food, be safe and also able to protect my truck and its’ load. You do realise, I am responsible for both don’t you? I can’t really even park it somewhere, then walk or get a cab to a motel and if I have bulk Dangerous Goods on board, I am breaking the law to leave it unattended.
There are few motels without air conditioning and dirty ones won’t survive as no one will come back and others will rate them badly, but what if I need to sleep during the day to be compliant with the law. Please show me all the truck rest areas with useable shade, toilets and other facilities you will mostly, all take for granted.
What if I do pull up and get to sleep, at least I don’t have far to go to bed, about one step, but then in the day, the sun moves as it does, or at night, another tired truckie pulls in beside me as he too needs his beauty sleep, but he has a frig van or a load of cattle or makes a noise and wakes me as he has a short break, while I am trying to have a mandatory 7 hour continuous break?
All the above is of no concern to most of you in other jobs, but have you ever for one minute thought about the truckie who delivers your food, your fuel, your clothes, car parts and every other thing you use, how we live on the road? Not one of our major highways in Australia met the minimum standard for the number of rest areas in the only study done in years, let alone did they meet the requirements for even a basic list of facilities that should be available to us. What is being done to change this?
I asked for sometime and we now have a recommended design for truck rest areas, but there is no legal requirement, no funding to make even one highway meet the above standard for the number of spaces, let alone for the design or facilities. We are legally required to manage our fatigue, to comply with laws and penalties made and policed by others, who have no idea of what it is like to live in a truck for a day, let alone a week or more, so do you wonder why I am still asking for something to be done?
None of us want to drive tired, we want to do a trip safely and get home, but we need places and the flexibility in our laws to allow us to do that safely, but currently we don’t have the places, the facilities or the consideration needed and our laws are more there to punish us and raise revenue, than help as operate safely. How can we fix any of this? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.