Industry needs divided rest areas: Hannifey

Trucking advocate Rod Hannifey uses heavy vehicle safety inquiry to call for divided rest areas

Industry needs divided rest areas: Hannifey
Industry needs divided rest areas: Hannifey
By Brad Gardner | June 30, 2010

Governments need to improve the design of rest areas to accommodate all road users, trucking advocate Rod Hannifey says.

During his address to a NSW parliamentary inquiry into heavy vehicle safety, Hannifey (pictured) called for divided facilities to separate long haul from short distance drivers and general motorists from heavy vehicles.

According to Hannifey, it is hard for long distance drivers to sleep when other truck drivers constantly turn up for minor rest breaks. He says drivers are also prevented from pulling over because car and caravan owners are taking up room.

Referring to one incident where he had to sleep for seven hours to comply with fatigue management laws, Hannifey told the inquiry he was woken every 15 minutes by a truck pulling over so the driver could rest.

"In the seven hours that I was there – and I could not leave – I probably got two hours sleep. At the end of that time my logbook says I am right to go but I am still buggered and two hours down the road I was; I was tired and I had to pull up again," he says.

By building all-in-one rest areas, Hannifey says governments can save money.

"If we had a facility that was designed properly for all users, we minimise all the extraneous cost and we minimise doing the same thing three times for three different groups…"

Hannifey also wants governments to allow truck drivers to use modern facilities restricted to general motorists.

"They have toilets, they have tables and chairs, they have lovely shade and most of those sites are designed to keep us out; they have ‘no truck’ signs. Then you go up the road and we get a piece of dirt if we are lucky, with a rubbish bin and nothing," he says.

Hannifey also highlighted a lack of understanding from the Roads and Traffic Authority on rest areas.

"I did approach one gentlemen from the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) at one stage and I said, ‘Jeez, there are no toilets’. He said to me, ‘Oh, don’t you blokes all carry porta[ble] potties in your trucks?’ That is what the gentleman from the RTA said," Hannifey says.

He says a rest area at Bookham on the Hume Highway is built on a 45 degree angle, prompting a complaint to the roads department because it prevented drivers from sleeping.

Hannifey says the RTA official agreed the department had made a mistake but would not fix the problem due to the cost.

"…we get the blame for a lot of stuff and yet it is our facilities and they are simply not there. We do not have enough, they are not well designed," he says.

Hannifey has taken business and political leaders on trips to give them an understanding of what truck drivers have to deal with on a daily basis.

He was instrumental in getting blue reflectors installed on the roadside to notify truck drivers of oncoming unmarked rest areas.

The inquiry is being led by the StaySafe Committee and is due to release a report on its findings soon.

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